Bedtime Science: How do seeds travel?

If animals run out of food they can can move to where there’s more. Plants can’t get up and move to find a better place to grow. But they have found ways to send their “children” to new places where they might have a better chance of surviving. Different plants have a lot of different tricks for doing this.

Some seeds travel in a helicopter. Others can stick to animals that will carry them somewhere.

Where are the seeds on these plants? What’s about to happen to them? How do they get their seeds to new places?

By FoeNyx, France (Self-published work by FoeNyx) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC BY-SA 1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/1.0)], via Wikimedia CommonsBy Taken byfir0002 | flagstaffotos.com.auCanon 20D + Sigma 150mm f/2.8 - Own work, GFDL 1.2, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2038646

 

If these seeds are eaten how does the plant produce new plants? (Ancient versions of these plants were around and getting eaten long before humans grew them.)

When strawberries and tomatoes are eaten that’s not the end of their seeds. A lot of fruit seeds can pass through the animal that ate them without getting damaged, and get pooped out somewhere.

Then what?!

If the seeds are undamaged they can grow. To cap it off, they’re sitting in a nice pile of dung, which makes a good fertiliser. These seeds could travel a long way while the animal that ate them digests the fruit.

Fruits are meant to be eaten.

Can you think of other ways plants can send their seeds away from home? How about putting your ideas in the comments?

PHOTO ATTRIBUTIONS

Strawberry: By FoeNyx, France (Self-published work by FoeNyx) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC BY-SA 1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/1.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Tomato: By Taken byfir0002 | flagstaffotos.com.auCanon 20D + Sigma 150mm f/2.8 – Own work, GFDL 1.2, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2038646