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BIOL 1902
Michael Runtz

 Until ready for dispersal, plants protect the seeds o Some use hard, heavily lignified structures, such as CONES  Some have HARD SEED COATS, such as those on ACORNS  These adaptations can be quite beautiful well as effective  Seeds can also be protected CHEMICALLY  Unripe berries are protected with TERPENOIDS (bitter tasting!) o Aposematic coloration  Milkweed seeds are well protected by the pod, which is full of cardiac glycosides  In plants this process of sending out progeny into the world is called SEED DISPERSAL o Advantages of seed dispersal  Avoids crowding and competition  Prevents spreading of disease or parasites  Prevents in-breeding  Once mature, the pods open and the seeds are off! o How are seeds sent off?  Plants in open habitats such as old fields often use the wind  Wind dispersal = anemochory  In order to fly with the wind, seeds must have adaptations o But no solution is perfect o Problem: missing the target habitat o Solution: produce lots of seeds!  Some plants harness the power of animals  Hooks and barbs catch on hair or feathres o These seeds hitch-hike  Burdocks invented Velcro  Queen Anne’s Lace also uses animal power for seed dispersal o Also protects seeds from rain  The umbel closes on cloudy days  Other sun-loving plants exploit animals in a very different way  Their seeds travel inside the berry(?)  Plant bribe animals with sweet food  Zoochory – using animals for
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