Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Seed Factories

The woods around here are slowing down and going underground for the short- light period ahead.  You have to look very carefully to see the real action these days-- all the seeds that are maturing.
Today I collected a few samples.  I was so surprised to find that the squaw root plant, which is one of those strange non-chlorophyll plants that is in a parasitic or saprophytic relationship with some other plant, produces substantial large brown seed capsules that look like small chestnuts.  That is one plant that I see in winter in a kind of blackened, melty state, looking like a mushy thing that produces spores instead of seeds.  I had never seen its seeding state before.  It looked like a slightly thin pine cone.  Inside each glossy brown nut were hundreds of tiny seeds.

Another non-chlorophyll plant that I saw were the same Indian pipes I've been fascinated by all summer.  In their seeding state they bear erect capsules on their thin, dry stems, and the capsules are full of tiny seeds. 

I was surprised to see how few and how large the seeds inside a rose hip are-- the ones I picked had four large pale seeds that looked like blond apple seeds. 

Plantain seeds and what I think are Jerusalem artichoke seeds are both winged and arranged in large groups along a stem (plantain) and in a tight little cluster (Jerusalem artichoke or whatever it is).

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