Have You Tried?

‘Fishing’ for Seeds

October 16, 2012
a pile of orange leaves

Fall is a time when many of our ‘weeds’ have made seeds so that there will be more of the same in the springtime. But what would happen if all the seeds on the mother plant fell down and grew in that exact same spot? Might get a little crowded, don’t ya think?

So, to leave home, some seeds have little wind-catchers, like the milkweed seed, so that the wind can ‘catch’ them and scatter them here and there. Some seeds, like those of poison ivy, are good to eat (if you’re a bird) so… hungry birds feast, fly and poop – and, da-da, the seeds drop out of them and are even surrounded by a little bit of fertilizer. Other seeds have hooks or some other kinds of physical catches to cling on to the fur of passing animals, the feathers of birds or the socks and pants of a human passing by.So here’s how to make your ‘fishing pole’. Get a big, old sock, put 2 tennis balls inside or even newspaper – just to plump it up a bit. Tie a string around the open end of the sock to keep everything in. Use a long piece of string so that there is a sort of leash on the sock. Hold the leash, pull the sock along the ground behind you, and walk through as many weedy, overgrown places as you can. Then look at what you caught. Pick off some of these sticking seeds to discover what kinds of hooks or other appendages they have utilized to become hitch hikers.

Good luck!