Monday, March 30, 2015

ants in the plants

ahhhh. It's spring and a young man's fancy turns to thoughts of germination. The woodland wildflowers are punching their way to the surface, but some need a little help finding a location.

Wherever you find bloodroot blooming, you know there's been ants in the plants. Yes, ants. This forest perennial's seeds are collected and spread by ants through a process called myrmecochory (mùrmekō káwree). Was that really any help?

The insects carry the fleshy seeds back to their nests, eat the nutritious portion called the elaiosome (another good Scrabble word: six vowels, wow) and discard the seeds in their nest debris where the following year they germinate into new plants. And since they are perennials, they'll be there for years to come.

Yes, the unseen ants. Deus ex machina.

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