How flowering plants beat the competition

Posted on November 14, 2006  Comments (2)

How flowering plants beat out the competition on ancient earth:

as the world headed into a cooler, drier climate around 250 million years ago, the early seed-bearing plants had a distinct advantage over their simpler, spore-releasing relatives that then flourished in moist, warm swamps.

Seed-bearing plants also figured out better ways to get around. Some seeds sprout improbably elaborate barbs in order to snag a lift on passing animals. A significant number hitch a ride by growing a morsel called a elaiosome that entices ants to carry them off a few feet. Other seeds are textured or buoyant, so they can float away on wind or water.

The human appetite for seeds has resulted in new forms of dispersal as well. Thousands of years ago, people began collecting and cultivating nutrient-rich seeds, like corn, lentils, and oats, for food.

Related: What Are Flowers For?Artic Seed VaultSeeds, a new book

2 Responses to “How flowering plants beat the competition”

  1. Fun Fungi
    December 10th, 2006 @ 12:32 pm

    “Fungi, on the other hand, are fundamentally alien…
    Some lurk in the Earth, spreading out over hundreds of acres. Others live inside insects, forcing them to climb to the tip of a blade of grass, so that they can shower their spores down on new victims….”

  2. Curious Cat Science and Engineering Blog » Science and the Excitement, the Mystery and the Awe of a Flower
    July 21st, 2008 @ 10:33 am

    […] Vega Science Lectures: Feynman and More – How flowering plants beat the competition – What Are Flowers For? by curiouscat   Tags: Podcast, Students   Permalink to: […]

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