CURIOUS SEEDS


A. HUNTERS OF PLANTS

According to research developed by The Smithsonian Tropical Research Insitute in Panama, hunters not only reduce the number of mammals but also the number of forest plants, because many of the seeds are dispersed by mammals and if animals are captured they can't disperse the seeds.

B. RECIPROCAL EVOLUTION

A study made by the New Mexico State University says that some species of pine cones have evolved specialized ways to ward off seed predators. Scientists found that birds could remove a seed much more quickly from open pine cones without spines than when spines were present. But not only pine cones have evolved. Crossbills, whose diet is mainly pine seeds, were also found to have various adaptations thought to improve pine cone predator which were not found in bird species with wider diets.

C. HABITAT FRAGMENTATION

In Tanzania, habitat fragmentation has broken the relationship between trees and birds that distribute tree seeds. The trees survival depends largely on certain bird species to disperse seeds. It has been found that as habitat areas get smaller the rate of tree species extinction increases.

D. THE BAMBOO DILEMMA

One third of the world's 1200 species of woody bamboo are in danger of extinction thereby endangering the refuge and the food of rare species such as the giant panda of China and Africa's gorillas. However at times, bamboo can bring problems to humans. For example farmers in north-eastern India are used to cutting down as much bamboo as possible before it flowers, because they fear that its seeds will feed a plague of rats that will ravage their crops.

E. MATUSALEN PALM

Recently, one example of seed dormancy has amazed the scientific community. In Israel, researchers have germinated a date palm stone that is 2000 years old. The seed was found in an archaeological excavation and is thought to be the oldest seed ever germinated. It belongs to a variety which is throught to have gone extinct during the Middle Ages.

 

If you know any interesting seed stories we invite you to send them to us.

© ENSCONET. European Native Seed Conservation Network