Saturday, February 5, 2011
Why did the tumbleweed cross the road?
Apart from the cool galloping mosses below one of the few examples of a mobile adult plant is the tumbleweed. A number of plants in dry and windy environments have evolved a similar strategy of disengaging from their roots when mature and then, although the mature plant is dead, using the large tumbling plant body as a mechanism of seed dispersal. Seeds may be dispersed as the plant tumbles along or in other species it actually requires the presence of moisture to cause the seed pods to open and release the seeds.
NASA have even used the tumbleweed as inspiration for a low cost (well, relatively low cost, it IS NASA) Mars Rover.