Saturday, September 30, 2006


Today I visited a neighboring park to help with a little teasel cutting project. In Utah, teasel is a non-native invasive species, and it spreads rapidly. Wildlife don't generally eat it to keep it at bay, and it takes over native plant species that wildlife rely on. So today, visitors were invited to come and clip the seed pods.

Many of those seed pods were then put to good use as folks made teasel critters: a deer and an owl. They were very cute using teasel pods, pine cones, branches, etc. Several of the kids then carved pumpkins. It was a really fun morning. I enjoyed being outside, in this beautiful weather, making an effort to ride this wetland area of an invasive plant species. It felt good to be doing something meaningful, and seeing those who were participating enjoying themselves as well.

I don't think I've ever really looked at seeds and seed pods before. I know they use different means to "get around" but I've never really stopped to look at what that means. However, in recently preparing for a plant adaptation program at work, I started to really look around at the plants as they are preparing for winter, dropping their leaves, throwing their seeds, and I was struck with the beauty I saw. Seeds are amazing in the many ways they have developed for traveling. Some have "wings", others are carried by fluffy "parachute" whispys, others have velcro-type hooks that attach to unsuspecting passers-by, others are enclosed in tastey fruit, eaten, and deposited when the animal takes a little pit stop. Size and shape are as varried as are the plants themselves. They come in all shapes and sizes. Some are hard as stone, others are soft and fragile. Many are single, solitary seeds; others, like teasel contain hundreds, even thousands of individual seeds in a single pod, or cone. I am excited to have my eyes opened to this "new" aspect of nature that I haven't ever really "seen" in the past. How cool that nature is so simple, and yet so complex to allow so much observation and discovery.

Nature is just beautiful.

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