Erythronium seed dispersal

Travis O
Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:44:40 PDT

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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