Saturday, April 3, 2010

Tenacious Bloodroot

Today a tenacious Bloodroot poked out of the stone edging of our front walk.  The third of April seems inordinately early for this spring wildflower to appear--even more striking, since the flower emerged from stones covering plastic lining.  How do Bloodroot propagate?  Did a seed germinate above the plastic lining?  Or did a long dormant root punch its way out from below?  In either case, I imagine yesterday's record-setting warmth was magnified by both pebbles and plastic.

S. H. replies: This is from a wikipedia article, not necessarily the most accurate source, but interesting anyhow. Bloodroot is one of many plants whose seeds are spread by ants, a process called myrmecochory. The seeds have a fleshy organ called an elaiosome that attracts ants. The ants take the seeds to their nest, where they eat the elaiosomes, and put the seeds in their nest debris, where they are protected until they germinate. They also get the added bonus of growing in a medium made richer by the ant nest debris.

1 comment:

  1. Another interesting post, Dan. It's fascinating and amazing how many "win/win" situations nature has created on so many levels.

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