bloodroot update

A couple weeks ago I posted this photo of a bloodroot seed pod:

This past week I was on kitchen duty, meaning I wasn’t out on the trails with students at all.  Yesterday afternoon I finally got out for a walk by myself and it occurred to me to see how these seed pods were developing.  The first couple I found looked like this…  (Excuse the poor quality of the images, my little point-and-shoot camera was being temperamental for some reason.)

Already shriveled and empty, the seeds gone.  Had I completely missed seeing them split open?  Aww man!  But then I found this guy:

Check it out!  Here’s a closer look at the seeds; I popped a couple out onto the palm of my hand to see them better.

The fleshy white things along the edges of the seeds are the arils, which attract ants.  The ants go after the yummy arils and, in the process, disperse the seeds.  I suppose not everyone would find this as interesting as I do, but I’ve been watching the progress of these plants every since they appeared in March and it was fun to see them complete their life cycle!

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2 thoughts on “bloodroot update”

  1. I certainly find it fascinating! I blogged about ant farming this past winter and repeated the post again this spring just because it was ‘time’! Thanks for the close up of the seeds and pod, making it even more clear to me! ~karen

    1. Karen – in tropical parts of the world the relationships between ants and plants are even more extreme. The thorns of acacia trees are hollow to encourage ants to live in them, and acacias produce sap and food bodies to feed their residents. In return, the ants will attack herbivores and even other competing plants!

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