Zenfolio | Bruce Fellman | Harvestman's treat

Harvestman's treat

June 20, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

An old friend of mine wanted some Bloodroot plants for her garden, so I unearthed a few that had made fine seedpods and would help re-establish a Bloodroot bed more quickly than would happen through plants alone. But at least one of the upright pods was more mature than I thought, and, no sooner had I potted up the gift than the pod opened and scattered its contents. Bloodroot seeds are unusual, in that each one typically includes, as part of the package, a sweet white growth called an elaisome that is designed to be Manna for ants. These insects find the botanical treat irresistible and carry the elaisome-bearing seeds back in the direction of their nests, thus helping to disperse Bloodroots to new, and as I've noticed over the years, completely unexpected places. Elaisomes, I discovered today, are not just haute cuisine for hymenopterans. I hadn't noticed that the Bloodroot pod had spilled some of its contents on a boulder near the house. Somebody else, however, didn't miss the gift unbidden. A Harvestman, a.k.a., Daddy Longlegs, was more than happy to enjoy an unexpected dessert.


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