Propagation Extreme

in StemSocial3 months ago

I know when we talk about plants, no one's mind goes to the extreme. Indeed when you see a flower on a field. Everyone's first reaction would be something like..

Ohhh it's a flower 🌺
Pretty 😍

Then it's over.
Although no one talks about how the flower got to where it was.

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Image made using Canva

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Propagation.

This can be defined as the dispersal of seeds by plants, either by natural or manmade sources. Source

Now I'm guessing the average gardener, student and normal person would already know that, but still I have to post it to introduce the ways different plants propagate.

Ways of propagation

Even the most simple plant has a very fun propagation method. Methods, that range from hitchhiking, to sky diving, to full on being shot out to their respective growth places. Let's see, how your common plant propagates.

1. The Hitchhikers.

Now this way of propagation by plants is probably the most common and yet the most annoying.
The family of plants that adopted this method of movement is the Asteracea family, common flowers here are the Sunflowers, Daisy's and Asters.

The individual flowers in a head have 5 fused petals (rarely 4), but instead of sepals, they have threadlike, hairy, or bristly structures singularly called a pappus, plural pappi, which surround the fruit and can stick to animal fur or be lifted by wind, aiding in seed dispersal. The whitish fluffy head of a dandelion, commonly blown on by children, is made of pappi with tiny seeds attached at the ends. The pappi provide a parachute like structure to help the seed be carried away in the wind. Source

The explanation indeed sounds boring but take it from a plants point of view. Getting to see and experience all a human or animal sees and experiences.
The humans and or animals that help carry their pappi around are called pollinators, and I've had the grace of being one myself ☺️

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One of the many pappi that was stuck to my trouser after a brief walk in a field


They were a lot more than that but I had started handpicking them out before I realized this could be quality content for a post (⁠◔⁠‿⁠◔⁠)


This indeed is a much better view

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Spanish needles

The pappi on the picture was gotten from another hitchhiking plant called Spanish needles
So that's it for the hitchhikers, unto the skydiver's.


2. Skydiver's

Now this is one very crazy and sweet mode of propagation, and although I just put them all as skydiver's, they all have their own specific way of taking to the skies.



Dandelions and their Parachutes

The flower heads mature into spherical seed heads sometimes called blowballs or clocks (in both British and American English) containing many single-seeded fruits called achenes. Each achene is attached to a pappus of fine hair-like material which enables wind-aided dispersal over long distances.
The flower head is surrounded by bracts (sometimes mistakenly called sepals) in two series. The inner bracts are erect until the seeds mature, then flex downward to allow the seeds to disperse. The outer bracts are often reflexed downward, but remain appressed in plants of the sections Palustria and Spectabilia. Between the pappus and the achene is a stalk called a beak, which elongates as the fruit matures. The beak breaks off from the achene quite easily, separating the seed from the parachute. Source

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Dandelion


The Javan Cucumber

This is one plant that it's seed propagation is probably what you'll call a work of art and science. The Javan glider🤩

The seed or samara of this species is unusual in having two flat bracts extending either side of the seed to form a wing-like shape with the seed embedded along one long edge and the wings angled slightly back from it. As the seed ripens the wings dry and the long edge furthest from the seed curls slightly upwards. When ripe, the seed drops off and its aerodynamic form allows it to glide away from the tree. The wing spans some 13 cm and can glide for great distances. The seed moves through the air like a butterfly in flight — it gains height, stalls, dips and accelerates, once again producing lift, a process termed phugoid oscillation. In the past it was often found on the decks of ships at sea. Source

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Javan Cucumber Seeds

3. Ballistics

This mode of seed dispersal has to be one of the most action related and extreme. In this category, the plants literally shoots it's seed out into the forest, wild, field.Literally anywhere it is :⁠-⁠)
Suprisingly, there are a lot of plants in this category, from the Touch me nots, to the squirting sea cactus@trumpman I think you'll want to see this😂😂. It's weird and oddly refreshing😂
Here is a video of some ballistic plants👇

Although the plant that I want to talk about on this category isn't in that video.


The Chinese Witch Hazel

This is a plant that really caught my attention, cause clearly the witch does fly🤩Please excuse the pun😂.

This plant is a native to Western China and is probably, well known due to their yellow bloom. Apparently it has a Japanese brother @wittyzel have you seen it and if you have could you get a picture for me🥺.
The plant can grow to be a big shrub or small tree. But I can hear you loud and clear saying

Enough about the plant, tell us about it's seeds😂

The Chinese Witch Hazel has a ballistic way of propagating it's seeds. Unlike a explosive mechanism, it's somewhat like when you squeeze a wet watermelon seed with your fingers.

Taking advantage of high-speed cameras, botanists have in recent years captured the intricacies of such high-flying reproductive mechanisms.

As the fruits of a witch hazel plant dried out, the German researchers discovered that the top part of a woody capsule around the seed split open. The middle part of the capsule constricted, as if it were squeezed by fingers, until the seed, about the size of a pumpkin seed, broke free and flew out at about 28 miles per hour.

According to scientists from UK Times they claim that;

Taking advantage of high-speed cameras, botanists have in recent years captured the intricacies of such high-flying reproductive mechanisms.

As the fruits of a witch hazel plant dried out, the German researchers discovered that the top part of a woody capsule around the seed split open. The middle part of the capsule constricted, as if it were squeezed by fingers, until the seed, about the size of a pumpkin seed, broke free and flew out at about 28 miles per hour.

“You hear the crack and then it shoots out,” said Thomas Speck, a botany professor at Freiburg. “The fascinating thing is there is no explosive mechanism. There’s this squeezing mechanism.”

As it flies the seed also spins and the speed of spinning is incredible. From 12,000 to 24,000 revolution a minute. Just like the spiraling of a well thrown football, the spin helps it travel a great distance of over 8 feet.
Although there is something that most scientists haven't been able to figure out about the plant.
They noticed that some fruits on the same plant have a different seed spin direction. Like just how a quarterback on a football match always throw left handed with a left sided spin and how others throw right handed with a right sided spin.

I couldn't find a video of the seed when exploding, but I did find a video of the capsule after explosion.


maybe there aren't any video because it's too graphic😂

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Chinese Witch Hazel Shooting Seed

These are all for now, but let's note that there are more ingenious propagating methods. For example when looking for materials for this post I just found out about the Sailors, Coconut and Mangrove.
Would love to hear your thoughts on the comments section 🥺
This just goes to show that there are action's all around us😂.

Till next blog🤗

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Propagation is often a good tool to ensure the survival and expansion of plant species as living beings.
It is something that is very important to ensure biodiversity and the maintenance of the species that currently exist, although they are obviously in decline.

It is an interesting natural tool, and I think we should serve to keep it going, even though nature has its different ways of doing it.

Yh, nature really does have it's ways. I feel if we decide to interfere, we would end up doing more harm than good.

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