Spreading Seeds a Fur Piece

IMG_4710agrimonia480I’ve posted similarly in the past about my utter amazement at the number of local plants that have the potential to have their seeds carried literally miles away from the parent plant by the fur and feathers of animals; or in our case the fur of Feather, our borrowed neighbor dog.

The caveat from the plants point of view is that it operates on the chance that a passing animal will come in contact with its seeds. If so, the plant can do the rest.

Our list so far this summer includes bedstraw, agrimonia (pictured above), geum, bidens, hackelia (Virginia Stickseed) and common burdock, as well as desmodium (ticktrefoil) pictured below. There are other tiny hard black seeds yet to be identified that are perhaps the worst of the lot for getting out of Feather’s fur.

IMG_0551desmodiumOn Sunday, for those of you who will join me for the first and probably only Goose Creek Afield event, I am thinking about dragging an old towel through the uncut end of the pasture for fifty feet and then see what we “catch.” Should be interesting.

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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