Thursday, March 5, 2015

The Miracle of Seeds

Who has not heard this popular proverb?

"Mighty oaks from little acorns grow." 

Although spoken metaphorically, this also describes one of nature's "miracles".

On Saturday, March 7, youngsters will learn  about The Miracle of Seeds at Youth FIRST at Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge.  On the website, High Country Gardens, we found a description of that miracle:
“The fact that plants can create little dormant pieces of themselves to broadcast out into the world to germinate is quite marvelous.  Even more amazing, is how long some seeds can survive before being given the chance to sprout. There have been discoveries of bean seeds uncovered in archaeological digs that are over a thousand years old, and they were still viable and able to germinate! While not all seeds have that ability to hold a spark of life for so many centuries, it’s not uncommon for seeds that have been stored in a dry, cool place to maintain their viability for a decade."
From Wikipedia:
"Seeds have been an important development in the reproduction and spread of gymnosperm and angiosperm plants, relative to more primitive plants such as ferns, mosses and liverworts, which do not have seeds and use other means to propagate themselves. This can be seen by the success of seed plants (both gymnosperms and angiosperms) in dominating biological niches on land, from forests to grasslands both in hot and cold climates."
Another amazing aspect of seeds is the multitude of adaptations that have developed to disperse seed by means of wind, animals who pass seeds through their digestive tract, carry seed in their coats (think Velcro), or cache seeds that are not eaten later, gravity, fire which eliminates competition from adult plants and releases seeds, floating on water, or even ballistics, in the case of plants that can “launch” their seeds.  A video explaining these adaptions to youngsters (interesting to this adult as well!) can be found at

Whether you ate cereal (oat, corn, rice, wheat?) with milk or ham and eggs (from grain-fed animals) and fruit or juice for breakfast this morning, your meal depended on plants from seed. Humans depend on plants from seed for not only food, but also for shelter, clothing, medicines and more.

“Providing much of the nutritional values that humans need, seed plants are the foundation of human diets across the world.

Wood, paper, textiles, and dyes are just a few examples of plant uses in everyday human life.
Traditionally, humans have also used plants as ornamental species through their use as decorations and as inspiration in the arts.

 As medicinal sources, plants are vital to humans, as many modern drugs have been derived from secondary plant metabolites; ancient societies also depended on them for their curative properties."*

*Source: Boundless. “The Importance of Seed Plants in Human Life.” Boundless Biology. Boundless, 03 Jul. 2014. Retrieved 03 Mar. 2015 from

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