For whatever reason, pollinators were everywhere last month, leaving more peapod-like fruits in their wake than ever before! Take a look at this bunch:
Rather than rely on animals or wind to spread their seeds, Bauhinias engage in a “ballistichory” mode of dispersal. As you’ve probably guessed from the root word “ballistic”, the process is quite explosive! Here’s how it works:
The wall of the Bauhinia “bean pod” consists of two layers of woody fibers growing at right angles to each other. As the fibers dry out, the layers pull against each other, creating enough tension to split the pod along its natural seams. When the walls spring back, each half curls into a corkscrew, shooting seeds 35-50′ away from the original tree. The next photo shows a dried, opened pod after completing the ballistochore (seed) dispersal process:
Bauhinia purpurea can be an invasive nuisance: I often find seedlings growing throughout the lawn and even in containers! This one germinated 2.5 years ago and done so well, I’ve decided to keep it.
FYI: Bauhinias typically bloom 3 years after planting so I’m expecting flowers on this one next winter…..and you know what that means! More seed pods!
Until next time……
- Tree Seed Types: Identification and Examples (forestry.answers.com)
- Early tulips, out of season clematis, almond pruning and more! (planthunteruk.wordpress.com)