Seed Dispersal


Summarizing the previous section, Fruit and Seeds, seed dispersal may be:

  1. in an unspecialised manner (seed release by wind, water or passing animals); this hold true for most dry capsular fruits,

  2. by wind (by the small size and weight the grains may drift over some distance; distinct adaptations to wind dispersal are the hair-like appendages of Aeschynanthus and allies),

  3. by water (rain-wash and rain-splash capsules),

  4. by animals (birds, perhaps also small mammals; berries and display capsules), and

  5. by ants.


A variety of display fruits are present in the Gesneriaceae, which facilitate recognition by feeding animals and subsequent dispersal of the seed.  These include both berries, which can be presented by dramatic calyx displays, and colourful displays of the seed mass as below.


A selection of neotropical Gesneriaceae exhibiting dramatically colored "diplay fruits" (seeds and placentae exposed to attract birds or small mammals).  From Wiehler 1983, Fig. 63.


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