Erythronium seed dispersal

Åke Nordström
Sun, 15 Mar 2015 10:22:11 PDT
Hi all!!

I have been following the discussions here for more than a year now, learning new and interesting things all the time. So far I haven't contributed with anything and perhaps I'm wrong in this, but one thing that we see rather often in my home areas (northern Sweden)is that voles are harvesting seeds of different plant species, often hiding them underneath or at the base of tree trunks or between roots. Sometimes these stored seeds are forgotten or not used, resulting in a lot of seedlings coming up in a very dense and "unnatural" looking way. I don't know if this could be the case here, but I guess that you have some rodents in the area that act in a similar way as the voles do in Europe?

Åke Nordstrom, in north of Sweden, still with 100% snow cower on the ground ; (

-----Original Message-----
From: pbs [] On Behalf Of Travis O
Sent: den 13 mars 2015 01:45
Subject: [pbs] Erythronium seed dispersal


Has everyone who reads the SRGC Bulb Log seen Ian's chapters on Erythronium? It's awesome. I most appreciate how it is based almost entirely on direct observation and experience.

The chapter on seeds [1] was good, but it raised an interesting question in my mind. Ian noted how the seeds of European species have fleshy attachments to entice ants or other insects to disperse the seeds. Erythronium's from Western North America remain in the dried pod atop the dried scape, which he presume is for mechanical seed dispersal by wind or spilling out next to the plant.

I live amongst Erythronium hendersonii, and it seems like some of the plants just could not possibly be where they are by mechanical means alone. I suspect birds may play a role in dispersing the seeds. Many of the plants I see grow under shrubs and trees, some under lone trees many tens of yards from other individuals. These shrubs and trees, Ceanothus, Arctostaphylos, Madrona, Quercus, and many conifers, are prime hang-out for birds, so it's not a stretch to think they could be "planting" the seeds (complete with fertilizer) underneath.

Does anyone have any thoughts on this?


-Travis Owen
Rogue River, OR

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