For the identification of insects and other fauna and flora of South Africa: please click on the following links:
Insects and related species: Antlions - Ants - Bees - Beetles - Bugs - Butterflies, Moths and Caterpillars - Centipedes and Millipedes - Cockroaches - Crickets - Dragonflies and Damselflies - Grasshoppers and Katydids - Mantis - Stick Insects - Ticks and Mites - Wasps - Woodlice
Plants, Trees, Flowers: (Note: Unless plants fall into a specific species such as Cacti, they have been classified by their flower colour to make them easier to find) Bonsai - Cacti, Succulents, Aloes, Euplorbia - Ferns and Cycads - Flowers - Fungi, Lichen and Moss - Grass - Trees
Animals, Birds, Reptiles etc.: Animals, Birds, Fish and Crabs - Frogs - Lizards - Scorpions - Snails and Slugs - Snakes - Spiders - Tortoise, Turtles and Terrapins - Whipscorpions
Other photography: Aeroplanes - Cars and Bikes - Travel - Sunrise - Water drops/falls - Sudwala and Sterkfontein Caves etc.

Videos: YouTube

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

How does grass germinate?

At this time of year, all plants and trees have seeds on them and can be most attractive.

Now we all know that in order to germinate, seeds have to be planted under the soil. Right? Right!! So how on earth does grass seeds get there?

We have a theory here in Africa that at night, when everyone is sleeping, the monkeys go and plant them for us. :) But is it true? How DO they germinate? Okay, I will let you in on the secret.
 This particular type of grass like many others has a long tail attached to the seed and at the beginning of winter, fall onto the ground. They lay dormant until the first rains of spring and then Mother Nature shows how brilliant she actually is.

As the seeds get wet, they cause the tail part to contract and move. The barb on the tip of the seed will find a crevasse and get stuck there and now it can grow in the soil it is surrounded by. Do you believe this story?? Well it sounds better than the monkeys planting them doesn’t it?? :)
 Next time you come across any grass seed with long tails like that, dunk the whole thing in water for a few seconds, place it on the palm of your hand, wait a few seconds and see what happens. Eventually it will gravitate to the crevasse between your fingers and there it will stay. Clever hey? :)
 Some seeds look just like insects or caterpillars, like these black and pink ones. The pic of the black and yellow flowers/seeds is not very clear but I like the pastel shading of it.
 The Elephant grass is so tall at the moment that it is way over my head. Okay, I AM short but not THAT short. :) This is the one they cut and use for all those lovely thatched roofs we have here on some of our houses. Thatching not only looks nices but keeps houses cool in summer.


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