Tiny, Inspirational Seeds Nourish The World

By Susan Albert | August 23, 2022
Image by RomoloTavani
by Susan Albert
August 23, 2022

There is something so inspiring about a seed. Especially itty-bitty seeds. To think that everything is inside that hard coat that’s necessary to produce a full-size tree, vegetable, fruit, or fragrant flower; and as it matures, nature makes sure the plant will replicate itself by producing more seeds.   

Each spring I plant annual seeds such as zinnia, marigold, tithonia, and cypress vine. Each one presents a mystery that unfolds, revealing the secret inside the seed. Tiny leaves emerge, then duplicate, triplicate, and more till the plant bursts forth in bloom. If it is insect-pollinated, bees, butterflies, moths, hummingbirds, and even bats transfer pollen from male to female flower. When the union is successful, fruit begins to form. If you are growing vegetables, it is exciting to see the fruit develop into a tomato, a green pepper, a pumpkin, or whatever strikes your fancy. 

What About a Seed?

Seeds come in all shapes and sizes. Some need a season of cold before they will germinate. Others, like the invincible weed seed, can lie in wait for years before finally cracking open. Seeds can travel on the wind, blowing into your neighbor’s yard and planting a “volunteer.” Many seeds are shaped to facilitate their flight. We used to call maple tree seeds “helicopters” as they came spinning out of the trees looking for a safe landing. Others, like milkweed seeds, are attached to silk that helps them soar through the air. 

Seeds also provide nourishment for wildlife. Squirrels eat the tithonia seeds and goldfinches dine on coneflower seeds. If you grow sunflowers, the hungry birds and squirrels will come from miles around. I leave all my seed-bearing plants standing during winter to feed the wildlife. Our birdfeeders are filled with a variety of seeds, too, for their enjoyment. When snow is on the ground, the birds flock to the feeders.      

Those tiny seeds contain amazing powers inside their shells. With soil contact and water, new life is formed that can provide beauty, nourishment, and sustain a population.     

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