Who has not stopped to observed wind-bourn seeds? As a child growing up in Wisconsin, I watched my father carefully break open dry milkweed pods.
I remember laughing with delight as a gust of wind picked up and carried away those silky, parachute-like seeds. Some seeds landed near my feet, but others travelled further than my eye could see. As a child, I was enchanted by the spectacle; I gave no thought to what exactly was happening.
Living things are constantly moving into new territory. Drifting, or being carried by the wind – is one of the five ways seeds travel into new territory. The other four are: (1) hitchhikers, (2) floaters, (3) spitters, and (4) droppers. And among the drifters, there are more than 7 different ways of taking advantage of the wind.
• Gliders (some tropical plants)
• Parachutes (Milkweed seeds)
• Helicopters (Maple seeds)
• Flutterers (Jacaranda seeds)
• Cottony (Cottonwood, cattails)
• Tumbleweed (Russian thistle)
• Miscellaneous (some native grasses)
Milkweed seeds are “Parachuters”; each seed has an almost weightless, silky tuft of hair that catches the wind and carries the seed downwind, sometimes a long way.
Sometimes a seed can be carried further than the eye can see. Sometimes as far as California. Happy Thanksgiving, Dad.
Upcoming Outdoor Events:
Saturday, November 21, 8-10 AM. Bird walk in Towsley Canyon. All year round, the habitats of Towsley Canyon attract a wealth of bird-life. Beginners are welcome. Bring your binoculars. 2 hours, easy walk. For a map, go here.
Friday, November 27, 9-11 AM. After Thanksgiving Hike at East and Rice Canyon. Come work off that pumpkin pie while you learn about the many ways the Native Americans used our local plants to meet their need. For a map, go here.
You can listen to stories like this every Friday morning at 7:10 a.m. on “The Hike Report”, brought to you by your hometown radio station KHTS (AM1220) and by the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority.
For the complete MRCA hike and activity schedule and for trail maps, go to www.LAMountains.com.