When I think of autumn, I think of brilliant, jewel-toned foliage: rich reds, oranges, and yellows. But fall is also a time for brown–and specifically, for really interesting seed pods that have dried up, split open, and offered up their treasures.
In a recent post, I wrote about wind dispersal of seeds via feathery parachutes. Seeds attached to or encased in balls of fluff can travel quite far on a good breeze. But there are other ways for seeds to get around. Catching a ride on a passing animal is one of them. And that is why some seeds are sticky — or hairy, as in the case of Rose of Sharon seeds, which are encircled by a fuzzy ring.
Despite this transport mechanism, however, Rose of Sharon plants are really, really good at self seeding, with dozens of seedlings springing up around the base of the parent plant each year. So while those seeds are designed for adventure, they are really homebodies at heart. And I’ll take a homebody any day, if it puts on a good show (see below).