Plants and seed dispersal
Seeds provide the vital genetic link and dispersal agent between successive generations of plants. Plants lack any sort of mobility and remain in the same spot for their entire lives, therefore they rely on seed dispersal to transport their offspring
throughout the environment.
There are many other reasons why seed dispersal is integral to the survival of a plant species, and the methods of dispersal are varied.
In order to deal with the realities of dispersal, plants have evolved specific structures and strategies to carry their seeds throughout the environment, taking advantage of animals, wind, water and even explosions.
Some seeds have two lateral wings to help them glide; dandelions use umbrella-like parachutes instead. Maple seeds are known as "helicopters" because they are wing-shaped, and auto-rotate achieving extra lift, as they fall from the tree.
To do so, they evolve specific shapes, structures, colours, flavours, smells to move throughout the environment . They include seeds adapted to attract animals, buoyant seeds that float thousands miles, wings and parachutes capable of aerial transport and ballistic fruits that can shot seeds several meters away.
All these time-tested strategies are pure wonders and plants are the consummate engineers who designed them. They have found what works, what is appropriate, and most importantly, what lasts here on Earth, and they exhibit many examples of efficient design and specialized functionality.
The ACT is now working on two main seed dispersal strategies:
Self-burial strategy of Erodium cicutarium
For more info read the study description.
The parachuted flight of Tragopogon dubious
For more info see the study description