5 February 2021
Many plants that grow near water disperse their seeds by riding the water wherever it goes. Fabulous among this group are tropical plants whose drift seeds cross the ocean.
The monkey-ladder vine or sea bean (Entada gigas), above, produces hard-covered heart-shaped seeds that contain an air pocket to keep them buoyant. Seeds from the Caribbean and Central America wash into the ocean and float on the Gulf Stream. Some make landfall 15 months later on the shores of Scotland.
This selection of drift seeds was found at the Outer Hebrides.
They can also be found at Orkney as seen in this video from BBC Winterwatch.
Where the land meets the sea, a whole host of treasures are waiting to be discovered – brought here from across the globe by swirling ocean currents. Join @peediepuss as he shares his discoveries from Orkney’s beaches. ??#Winterwatch ?? pic.twitter.com/C06tap0Zr3— BBC Springwatch (@BBCSpringwatch) February 5, 2021
The drift seeds traveled more than 4,000 miles to reach Orkney’s beaches and so did a lot of other things.
p.s. Click here to see a map of Scotland showing the Outer Hebrides and the Orkney Islands.
(photos from Wikimedia Commons, tweet embedded from BBC Winterwatch)