Phase Five: Scattering the Seeds

A seed contains everything necessary to produce a new plant. When a seed leaves the fruit or flower we call it dissemination. If the seed is in fruit, dissemination occurs when the fruit falls from the plant or when an animal carries the fruit away. Some of these seeds end up in the soil and grow into new plants.

Springtime Soil is ideal for growing seeds. This soil is damp and warm both of which are important for seed survival. If a seed does not land in moist soil it will stay dormant until moisture is present, and then it will grow.

Seeds can be scattered in many ways. Some seeds are scattered by the wind, some are carried away by birds and insects, some float in water, others are forced away from the plant by exploding pods, and still others hitchhike on animals and people.

An example of a seed that travels by water would be the coconut seed. A coconut has a thick outer shell and is light-weight inside, which allows it to float for up to several months. When the coconut finally arrives on dry land, it is cracked open by animals or it rots, releasing the seeds inside.

An example of a hitchhiking seed would be a burdock. A burdock is covered with a spiky shell that sticks to passing animals and people. In this way the seeds are taken to a new location to grow.

Maple seeds are carried by the wind. They fall off the tree and can be blown for many miles because they are light-weight. Dandelions are also scattered this way.

The last method of scattering seeds is explosion. Some plants have seeds contained in large pods. When the pod burst open the seeds are sent flying through the air. Milkweed scatters its seeds this way.

Phase Five Vocabulary Definitions:

Dissemination - When a seed leaves the fruit or flower of a plant.

Dormant - When a seed falls to the ground and does not grow because it lacks moisture.

Hitchhiking - When a seed is contained in a protective shell that has spikes or is covered in a sticky substance that allows the seed to attach itself to an animal or person.

Coconut - The seed case of a coconut plant. A coconut can float in water.

Burdock - A seed that travels by Hitchhiking on animals and people.

Maple Seed - A seed contained within a shell that can travel in the wind.

Milkweed - An example of a plant that scatters its seeds by growing exploding pods.