dispersal

Botanic Superlatives: Brightest Berry Joins Glitterati of the Natural World

November 19, 2012
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What's brighter than a peacock and shinier than a butterfly? A tiny, hard, fruit that grows in the forests of Tanzania, Mozambique, Ethiopia, and other African countries. According to biologists, the tiny fruits of Pollia condensata, a meter-tall perennial herb commonly known as the marble berry, surpass anything other living organism in their capacity to dazzle with a rainbow of iridescent light.

Botanic Notables: A Flower That Plants Its Own Seeds

December 06, 2009
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Most plants try to disperse their seeds far and wide. That way, if a flood or fire kills the parent plant, at least the progeny will be spared. Moreover, any plant can be a competitor for nutrients, so the further flung the children, the better. Geocarpic plants are exceptions to this rule. These rare angiosperms prefer to keep their young close to home—actually, they don't even leave the nest before settling into the ground. By depositing their seeds in the ground, geocarpic plants are their own so-called seed sowers.