Unraveling the Mystery of Self-Planting Seeds

I knew I had a great project on my hands, if I was a botanist of some sort. 

When it comes to sowing seeds, some plants only have to drop them and let gravity take care of the rest. But seeds from a family of small flowering plants known as Geraniaceae, give themselves a helping hand: after bursting open from beak-shaped fruits, they literally drill themselves into the ground. Scientists have long known that this bursting and drilling results from hairy appendages on the seeds called awns, which coil up and straighten out with changes in humidity, slowly propelling the seeds downward. Now, researchers have figured out the structural changes occurring in the cells of these awns that generates the coiling mechanism. 

ScienceShot: Unraveling the Mystery of Self-Planting Seeds – ScienceNOW.

seed

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