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Amateur Naturalist: Hovering Helicopter Seeds

Amateur Naturalist: Hovering Helicopter Seeds

I mentioned “Helicopter Seeds” in yesterday’s post on Minaya Park, but I didn’t really go into detail on these wonderful finds in nature.  Joel Robinson, an expert naturalist from Naturalist-For-You, first introduced me to these seeds on one of his guided family hikes (if you haven’t been, you should go!).   The one we found on our hike with Joel was rather small and thin.

The ones at Minaya are much bigger!

If you keep your eyes open you can find them on the ground at lots of parks in the area.  There’s a great web page for learning about the “Wind Dispersal of Seeds.”  Check out #3 which is about the South American tipu tree (Tipuana tipu) and how its seeds are called Helicopters or Whirlybirds.  You’ll no doubt find more of these trees and seeds on your adventures around town.  Here is what the tree looks like:

How do you make the seed fly?
Have your kids hold the seed by the round part and throw them swiftly straight UP in the air. On their way back down, they wondrously spin like a helicopter!

Here is what the seed pods look like on the tree:

Thanks for indulging my inner naturalist! Hope you have fun finding and flying these precious gifts from nature.


Wednesday 10th of August 2011

I found one of these in my hair the other day...

Mike Barlow

Tuesday 2nd of August 2011

Great photo! I love these seeds.


Saturday 30th of July 2011

My son loves these, they make for lots of entertainment. We even would take a few home to keep.

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