Saturday, June 14, 2008

Carolina Cranesbill: Seed Dispersal

The seed head of Carolina Cranesbill (Geranium carolinianum) consists of a central spike or beak and seedpods. A finely veined (reticulated) seed is inside each seedpod.

As the seed head dries the seedpods split open on their bottom sides.

With the seedpods removed from the plant you can see the seeds inside.

At the same time, the central spike shrinks and splits along it length into separate strips. A seedpod is at the bottom of each strip. Because of the shrinkage, the strips want to curl but cannot because they are still attached at their tops and bottoms.

Eventually, the bottom connection on a strip breaks beneath the seedpod. The strip pops upward as if it were spring loaded, which in effect, it is. As the seedpod attached to the bottom of the strip arcs upward, the seed inside is toss out away from the mother plant.

Empty seedpods after they've popped upward and tossed the seeds they contained away from the mother plant.



Lisa at Greenbow said...

What great photos Marvin. The seed pods look like tiny furry pets with eggs.

Tom said...

Isn't nature wonderful.. another one of those posts that as me in awe.. such beauty

Texas Travelers said...

Great, great macro photos and good story. I liked this a lot.

Of course it's what I usually expect to see here.

Have a nice weekend.

There's a party over here.
Come and visit for a while,

Anonymous said...

Hi Marvin,

Yes, you are right, the plant was tickseed but yellow is still cool. I have seen several plants with spring loaded seeds but never saw this one before today. I think it is really clever how Nature works out the details.

Pat - Arkansas said...

Fascinating! Really!

Your macro photographs are wonderful.

Lana Gramlich said...

Nature just never ceases to amaze me. Thanks for further info on the Carolina cranebill! :)

Sandpiper (Lin) said...

These have such wonderful detail. Nature is fascinating.

Christy said...

Wonderful photos. However being a dog owner all I can think is how these would probably get caught and matted into the fur. What a nightmare that is.

Mary said...

Fantastic macro shots, Marvin!

Small City Scenes said...

Interesting post and fantastic shots. MB

Dina said...

Now that's a smart plant!
Thanks for walking us through the process.

Q said...

Hi Marvin,
I am enjoying catching up with you this morning.
This was very interesting. Your photos are beautiful!
I have been eyeing a macro lens. I just might have to go get it!