12.14.2007

Fun fact for the day

Did you know that some plants' seed pods explode, to scatter the seeds for many feet in every direction?

Yeah, me neither, until this week.

Wednesday was a moderately-warm day, so both Josh and I were out in the yard. There is vine climbing up another plant near a path at the back of our house, and I always notice it because (I think) it's somewhat unusual, with a very flat stem. I had noticed before that it had seed pods that look very much like green beans, and on Wednesday, for whatever reason, I picked a couple of the dried pods and stuck them in my pocket. I think I had "seed saving!" in the back of my mind. It seemed like a good idea at the time, anyway.

Yesterday at work, I was looking for something in my coat pockets, and decided my coat pockets were too full, so I cleaned them out, threw away a couple papers, and found these two seed pods again. I set them next to me on my desk and went back to working.

About an hour and a half later, I jumped at a sound- it sounded like something had tumbled onto my desk. I looked around for what it could be, then quickly realized that we have no shelves with our new desks, so there was nowhere for something to tumble from, and, anyway, there was nothing new on my desk that could have caused the sound. Then I saw it. One of the seed pods was now in two very-curled pieces. A couple seeds had bounced around and were now lying on my desk. The noise I heard were the seeds being catapulted out of the pods into my soda cans and cups and phone and whatever else there was to hit and bounce off of nearby.

I was astonished. I'll admit, I was also jumpy & nervous for the next half-hour or so, eyeing the other seed pod, which I finally put in a drawer in case it decided to explode later. It did, after about 4 hours, and I heard the seeds rattle around a bit in the metal drawer.

Still don't know what the plant is-- but I'm walking by it a lot more carefully now.

4 comments:

Matt said...

That is a weird story. I hope it is the seed pods and not our new desks that are causing the explosions. I'm not leaving my iPod sitting out anymore, just in case.

Melissa said...

Impatiens (flowers) do that too! Albeit, their seeds are very tiny and the pods about the size of a pea. When I was a kid, I'd always watch our flowers until the spirally seed pods looked like they were about to burst. Then I'd poke them or give them the tiniest squeeze and they'd *POP*. It was so much fun. :)

Brett said...

Was it a Morning Glory vine? We had one at a previous house and I think I remember it having seed pods like green beans. I don't especially remember the stem being all that flat.

We did save some of the seeds and planted them elsewhere with reasonable success.

Lisa said...

I believe that would be the sweet pea vine. No need to save seeds, the exploding seed pod action means that it will re-plant itself just fine for you in the spring. (I didn't know that the seed pods did that!)

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