Tag Archives: transport

Postcard from Rwanda: Countryside

16 Nov

In my previous post about Rwanda, I mentioned that it is called the land of a thousand hills, but in reality, it is more like the land of 10,000 hills–or so it appears when visiting the northern part of the country. As far as the eye can see, there are green, rolling hills–almost all of them carefully terraced. Banana trees are a common feature, and in many valleys, there are rice paddies with strategically placed scarecrows to defend the plots against avian intruders. Bicycle transport demonstrates that ingenuity is born of necessity, and balancing skills of any kind go a long way.


Seed Transport: A Hairy Situation?

22 Oct

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).

Rose of Sharon seed pods

Rose of Sharon seeds

Rose of Sharon flower