June 10, 2011
How Do Tulips Disperse Their Seeds?
Tulips are a popular floral product and a big seller for florists, especially in the spring when huge quantities of the flowers are imported from Holland. The flowers come in a wide variety of colors and are a particularly favorite choice for spring wedding bouquets. Tulips grow from seeds or bulbs. Nature does its job in spreading the seeds that form into the bulbs that become part of the flowering plant.
Tulips Like other plants, tulips must disperse seeds for the flower to germinate and grow. The ways in which the seeds are spread affect how well tulips reproduce in both quantity and quality. Tulip seeds are dispersed by several different methods in nature. Once scattered, the seeds then germinate, growing into a bulb. Tulips need well-drained soil in a spot where they will get plenty of sunlight to grow. Adding sand to the soil provides for better drainage. Once tulip bulbs begin to multiply, you can pull off the smaller young bulbs from near the root of mature flower bulbs and replant them to get more tulips.
Although you can grow tulips from either bulbs or seeds, bulbs produce flowering plants faster. A tulip bulb produces a plant that will usually bloom the following year. Tulip seeds take only a few months to germinate, but it can be several years before the plant bears flowers. The reason is that a tulip seed can take up to five years to develop into a bulb.
Tulip seeds are found inside the seedpod of the flower. Just like other plants, pollination needs to occur for the seeds to form. A tulip is a self-pollinating plant, meaning that the flower can transfer pollen from the anther to the stigma without a pollinator. The plant is also a cross-pollinating flower relying on insects, the wind, man or animals to carry pollen from one tulip bloom to another. Once the flower of a tulip plant dies off, you can extract the seeds from the pod to plant in the fall. If you allow the plant to go to seed after it blooms, the pod will eventually turn brown and crack open.
The wind is the most common way in which tulip seeds are spread. Even a mild wind can easily carry the flat, light seeds a distance. Tulip seeds also stick to the fur of animals. Seeds often take root where they drop. Birds are responsible for spreading tulip seeds as well. Some birds eat the seeds, which then pass out in the bird’s droppings. Other birds carry the seeds to new places on their feathers.