Fruits and seeds, important components of a plant's reproductive system, have evolved sophisticated ways to disperse and colonise new areas. Wind can transport seeds and fruits great distances, enabling plants to evolve different characteristics and maintain a diverse gene pool.
Plants that rely on wind to disperse seeds have evolved aerodynamic structures that are attached to seeds and fruits. These adaptations include structures that resemble parachutes, helicopters, gliders, flutters and spinners. Another example of a wind dispersal adaptation is tumbleweed.
To facilitate transport, wind-dispersed seeds and fruits are often small in size.
Wind dispersal of seeds and fruits is particularly beneficial to plants as wind can carry seeds for many miles, enabling stationary plants to expand their geographic reach.
It is a risky endeavour to rely on wind to transport seeds to a location where conditions will be ideal for germination. To mitigate this risk, plants that reproduce with wind-dispersed fruits and seeds produce large quantities of seeds.
Besides wind dispersal, plants may transport their fruits and seeds by hitchhiking on animals, or floating in water.
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