Plants Planting Plants
Imagine you’re a plant. You eat, you drink, you breathe, you grow, and you make seeds. You’re rooted in one place, and you do quite well there. But you’ve got seeds you want to plant in another place. How can you do that? Read on to find out.
First we need to make two points clear:
- You must plant your seeds. The world can’t live without green plants.
- Of course plants don’t really want to plant their seeds. They can’t think. God made them the way they are, and God made each seed just right for each kind of plant.
An Apple a Day Takes the Seeds Far Away
Imagine you’re an apple tree, growing straight and tall. Your branches spread out far from your trunk so your leaves can soak up sunlight. Beneath the ground your roots spread just as far, looking for water and plant food.
Your seeds will need plenty of their own space. So you need to plant them far from you. How can you be sure that happens?
Here’s an idea: put them in a package that wildlife can’t resist picking up. Make it a food—every living creature needs food. And give that food a red wrapping so animals can easily spot it. Make some apples!
Deer, bears, even coyotes eat apples in the fall. Most eat the whole fruit, seeds and all. The apples get digested, but not the seeds. When the animals go to the bathroom, out come the seeds, far from the apple tree. Mission accomplished!
What a neat answer to two problems, food for creatures and travel for seeds!
Figure It Out
Unscramble the highlighted words below to make the sentences read correctly:
- Oak seeds, also called scorna, are often buried by squirrels.
- Seeds from plema trees are sometimes called helicopters.
- The lndiaendo makes “parachutes” to help seeds move in the wind.
Imagine you’re a violet growing in the woods. You had flowers last spring, but now you’re just short and green. You live in a colony of violets—lots of short green violet plants cover the ground nearby. What kind of seeds should you make?
Your seeds will need to travel. Enough violets already grow nearby. Should your seeds have “parachutes,” like dandelion seeds? No, that won’t work. You’re too short to feel a breeze. Should they hitchhike? No, they couldn’t reach most animals’ fur. Should you make fruit? At your size that fruit would be too small for anything to bother picking, except maybe ants.
That’s it, use ants! All sorts of ants live in the woods. They always bustle past you, looking for food. Bribe them with candy!
Make part of your seed sweet, and the ants will notice. They’ll taste it, love it, and take it home to share with their colony. And their colony probably lives underground. Presto! Your seeds have been carried away from you and planted, all thanks to the ants! And to your wise Creator.
Imagine you’re a scraggly yet hardy plant growing alongside a road. You’re small and not particularly tasty. Animals walk past or over you without noticing. People call you a weed.
Yet you have a job in creation: to protect a little patch of loose, lightweight soil from blowing or washing away. You do that well in “waste” places.
What kind of seeds should you make? They will need to be hardy and easily carried. They should travel to and survive other waste places. You could use the animals that walk right over you. But you don’t make fruit, so no one stops to eat.
How else can your seeds hitch a ride? There’s your answer: hitchhike. Make your seeds able to grab onto animal fur (or people’s feet), even if the animals or people don’t see you. Make a sand bur!
Animals still won’t notice you, and people won’t like you. But you’ll be just fine, doing exactly what you were created to do.
Do It Yourself
Imagine you’re a fairly small, healthy plant. You’re growing in good soil and you have plenty of space. But you still have one problem: you’re an annual. You were created to live for only one year. You’ll die this winter. So you want to be certain your seeds are well planted. What’s the best way to do that?
Here’s an idea: Do it yourself—plant your own seeds! You’re growing in a good place, and you won’t be here next year. So plant your seeds in the ground next to you.
That’s exactly what the peanut plant does. First a peanut flower blooms. It has the parts that make a seed. A small peg appears in the wilting flower. This peg becomes a long “stem,” which bends over and grows straight down into the soil. The seeds form on that “stem,” beneath the ground. Those seeds are the peanuts we eat.
Here’s the really neat thing about peanuts: each plant makes more than enough seeds. There are always peanuts to eat and peanuts to plant. The cycle can go on forever. Who would ever think of that?!
Go outside for 15 minutes and try to find five different kinds of seeds. Or put on a pair of white socks and/or light-colored long pants. Then walk through a wild area (woodlot or overgrown field). See how many seeds you pick up on your socks and pant legs.
About the Author
Joanne De Jonge is a freelance writer and a former U.S. National Park Ranger. She attends West Valley Christian Fellowship in Phoenix, Ariz.