Natures Autumn Seed Bounty – Seed Dispersal Natures Way.

Nature employs several methods for seed distribution during the Autumn months. It’s not unusual to hear the popping or cracking of crisp dry seed pods as they attempt to propel their seeds far and wide.

Some plants even provide their seeds armed with hooks and burrs that snag the passer-by! Be it Gardeners tending to borders that distribute seeds on their clothes and shoes or animals and birds that gather fruits and dry seeds for leaner times. Learning about seed dispersal can aid the seed collecting gardener.

Once you understand a plant mechanism for distributing its seed you will have an idea on how to harvest and even clean seeds for yourself.

Dried seedheads can also extend the season of interest  by providing a varied range if dried florets, pods and capsules that add rustic interest as the garden plants prepare for  winter dormancy.

Did you know that the squirrel busy storing his harvest for winter months has no recollection of where he buried his nuts and fruits, instead he randomly hunts for buried treasure, hoping to get lucky?


Seedheads can provide months of character and definition to Autumn herbaceous borders, and often left to set seed and provide food for birds and doormice.

These seed dispersing methods can vary from fluffy seed heads that are carried away by the wind, to propellers that gently spiral windward from the parent plant to find soft earth for a period of dormancy prior to germination.

Understanding seed development will not only make collecting and cleaning your hand gathered seeds easier but it will also help provide optimum conditions for germinating your own seeds.

Grow with me on


Stephen Pryce-Lea

Head Gardener and International Horticultural Consultant




“It’s a beautiful thing when a career and a passion grow together, when you find it in a Garden it’s like finding Paradise“

iGrowHort – A Head Gardener’s Horticultural Journey of love, life and learning.


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About Head Gardener 290 Articles
Award winning, 40 something year old professional plantsman and horticulturalist with National Trust, private parks and estate management background. My vast plant knowledge and hands on techinical experience, afforded me the opportunity to work in various horticultural landscapes, in the UK, USA & Eastern Europe. Having worked in both garden retail & the design service industry gave me the practical diversity and managerial skill set, required for running a large prestigious gardens and stately homes. I strongly believe knowledge is to be shared and have worked closely with people and staff of all ages and abilities keen to develop their passion for gardening, including groups of children, special needs and adults. I have hosted guided walks, talks and tours for those keen to learn about cultivated and wild plants, garden development, history and design. As an member of the NNCPG and National Trust, I am actively involved in the preservation of several important plant collections both in public and private gardens throughout the UK. “It’s a beautiful thing when a career and a passion grow together, in a garden it’s paradise” Follow @IGrowHort on GardenTags. Stephen is passionate about gardening as Head Gardener with a team of ten staff he manages a prestigious Cheshire country estate of 55 acres, inc wild flower meadows, woodland, organic kitchen and formal gardens. Follow Stephen today”

1 Comment

  1. I often collect and save my annual flower seeds. Today I am not a fan of the fluffy tailed rodent as I caught one making a mess of my sunflower plant and realized that same critter was in my ornamental corn. I didn’t feel much like sharing with him today. And my cat spent the afternoon sunbathing instead of doing her job. No treats for her!!

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