Seed Dispersal

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Plants use various methods to disperse their seeds and move them away from the parent plant to grow on their own. They often rely on animals and wind to help.

The 6 methods of dispersal: Poppers. Passers. Grabbers. Fliers. Droppers. Floaters.

  1. Poppers: Poppers are fruit in which the stalk that holds the seed to the plant gets very brittle, and when the plant is moved (by wind or something brushing against it) the stalk snaps ("pops") and sends the seed flying. Examples: Many grasses do this.
  2. Droppers: Droppers don't have any actual dispersal method; they in fact just drop their seeds to the ground.
  3. Fliers: Fliers have wing-like structures that help the fruit "fly away" when it falls off the plant. Examples: Maple trees.
  4. Floaters: Floaters have light fluffy strands that help the seed float away on the lightest of breezes. Examples: Dandelions, milkweed, cattails.
  5. Grabbers: Grabbers are known as burrs: those prickly little round things that get stuck in your socks when you walk through a field or brushy area. They have little barbed structures that grab onto clothes or an animal's fur.
  6. Passers: Passers are edible fruit, often very sweet, that get eaten by animals, then pass through their digestive tracts, then get "deposited" somewhere else —complete with fresh fertilizer! Examples: All the sweet fruits we like to eat: apples, oranges, grapes, bananas, tomatoes, etc.