NATURE uproots the cunning secrets of how flora reproduce in The Seedy Side of Plants.
They’re cunning and manipulative, and will do anything to get what they want. No, it’s not the cast of your favorite daytime soap. We’re speaking of the ubiquitous plant life that covers our planet, relentlessly evolving elaborate schemes to disperse its seeds and ensure the continuation of its almost limitless species.
How does such a seemingly passive life form accomplish the complex task of reproduction? Many plants take advantage of the primeval forces of Mother Nature herself to help their seeds germinate, sending them far and wide by means of wind, rain, and tides. Others have found ways to hitch rides for their seeds aboard other living things. For example, the burdock plant, which inspired inventor George de Mestral to create Velcro, has pesky burrs that sticks stubbornly to hair and fur.
Fruit, however, is perhaps the most commonly employed medium of seed mobility. Fruit-producing plants rely on the appeal of their fruits for dispersal of the seeds, and have evolved their own unique “marketing strategies” and their own select clientele — animals as well as humans — to help the process along. Even as scientists develop methods to control plant reproduction, each time we yield to the temptation to pluck a ripe juicy apple from its branch, we too become pawns in one of nature’s carefully devised game plans.
Online ontent for The Seedy Side of Plants was originally posted May 1999.
Production Credits Print
For Oxford Scientific Films
RICHARD & CAROL FOSTER
GLEN CARRUTHERS & JAN ALDEN HOVEN
PAUL & GRACIE ATKINS
TREVOR DE KOCK
DOMINIC CRAWFORD COLLINS
The Producer wishes to thank:
CHRIS & MARY CAMERON
FRANCOIS DE MESTRAL
MAURITIAN WILDLIFE FOUNDATION
PILANESBERG NATIONAL PARK
ROYAL BOTANIC GARDENS KEW
SAN DIEGO WILD ANIMAL PARK
SEYCHELLES ISLAND FOUNDATION
SMITHSONIAN TROPICAL RESEARCH INSTITUTE
UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD BOTANIC GARDEN
For the BBC
© 1998 Oxford Scientific Films
JULIE SCHAPIRO THORMAN
PATRICK GAMBUTI, JR.
Executive In Charge
An Oxford Scientific Films Production in association with Thirteen/WNET and the BBC
© 1999 Educational Broadcasting Corporation
All Rights Reserved
DANIEL B. GREENBERG
About the Writer
David Malakoff is a journalist covering research discoveries and the politics of science for SCIENCE MAGAZINE in Washington, D.C. His writing has appeared in a wide range of venues, including THE ECONOMIST, THE WASHINGTON POST, and ABCNews.com.
Photos for "Overview," "Endlessly Adaptable," and "Links and Books" © John Brown/OSF; photos for "Planet of the Plants" and "The Struggle for Control" © Oxford Scientific Films
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