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Seed Dispersal

In this worksheet. students answer questions about how seeds are spread away from the parent plant by environmental factors and animals.

'Seed Dispersal' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 2

Curriculum topic:  Plants

Curriculum subtopic:  Life Cycle of Flowering Plants

Difficulty level:  

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

Seed production is how flowering plants reproduce and ensure the survival of the species. Plants have evolved a variety of ways of dispersing their seeds so that they can spread over a wide area and away from the parent plant.

Seedling

 

Seeds need to spread away from the parent plant so when they grow they do not have to share water and light. Different flowering plants have evolved many different ways to ensure that their seeds are dispersed. These include:

 

Being carried by the wind:

Trees in high wind

Carried or eaten by animals:

Squirrel eating nuts

Floating on water:

River scene

Exploding from a pod:

Dandelion-type seed head

So, let's get stuck into seed dispersal and find out how the plants get seeds spread all over the place.

Look at these seeds. Their shape tells us that they are dispersed by which method?

Dandelion seeds  Sycamore seeds

 

wind

animals

rain

Which THREE plants from this list use wind to disperse their seeds?

sycamore tree

oak tree (acorn)

thistle

strawberry

dandelion

Cocnut tree

 

what method of seed dispersal does the coconut palm use?

wind

eaten by an animal

water

explosion

Animals disperse seeds in more than one way. Look at the picture of the burdock seed. The hooks have evolved so that the seeds are spread in which way?

Burdock seed

eaten by a bird

blown by the wind

'stuck' to animals' fur

explodes

Some animals help with seed dispersal in a different way. What behaviour, shown by squirrels and jays, helps with seed dispersal?

they eat only red, juicy fruits

they bury seeds to eat later

they often live in wooded areas

their nests/dreys are found in trees

Which ONE of these explains why plants may produce fruits that are good to eat? 

so that we can have a balanced diet

so animals eat the fruit and help with seed dispersal

because it tastes nice

Which THREE of these fruits contain small seeds which are eaten and pass straight through the gut?

strawberry

avocado

tomato

blackberry

marrow

Which THREE of these fruits contain large seeds which are left behind after the fruit is eaten?

banana

peach

apricot

cherry

Callie and Tom want to create the correct conditions for their sunflower seeds to germinate (to begin to grow.) Callie says that the seeds need water, warmth and soil. Tom says that the seeds only need water and warmth to begin to grow.

Who do you think is correct?

Callie

Tom

Callie and Tom know that the root grows first, followed by the stem. When the leaves grow, the plant needs warmth, water and what else so that it can produce its own food? Tick TWO boxes.

light

darkness

carbon dioxide

oxygen

  • Question 1

Look at these seeds. Their shape tells us that they are dispersed by which method?

Dandelion seeds  Sycamore seeds

 

CORRECT ANSWER
wind
EDDIE SAYS
Seeds with 'wings' or 'parachutes' travel on the wind.
  • Question 2

Which THREE plants from this list use wind to disperse their seeds?

CORRECT ANSWER
sycamore tree
thistle
dandelion
EDDIE SAYS
Sycamore seeds have wings to catch the wind while dandelion and thistle seeds are fluffy and light and can be carried for miles on the wind. In fact strawberry seeds (pips) need to be eaten to be dispersed while acorns tend to be buried by squirrels.
  • Question 3

Cocnut tree

 

what method of seed dispersal does the coconut palm use?

CORRECT ANSWER
water
EDDIE SAYS
Coconuts have been known to travel hundreds of miles on ocean currents! Mangroves grow with their roots in water and their seeds float away to grow on new shores.
  • Question 4

Animals disperse seeds in more than one way. Look at the picture of the burdock seed. The hooks have evolved so that the seeds are spread in which way?

Burdock seed

CORRECT ANSWER
'stuck' to animals' fur
EDDIE SAYS
Seeds with hooks and hairs are easily caught in furry or woolly coats and carried far away from the parent plant
  • Question 5

Some animals help with seed dispersal in a different way. What behaviour, shown by squirrels and jays, helps with seed dispersal?

CORRECT ANSWER
they bury seeds to eat later
EDDIE SAYS
Remember that although many of these answers are 'true', they need to relate to the question. In terms of helping with seed dispersal, jays and squirrels bury seeds and nuts underground when they are plentiful, but don't always remember where! These seeds then grow when the conditions for germination are good.
  • Question 6

Which ONE of these explains why plants may produce fruits that are good to eat? 

CORRECT ANSWER
so animals eat the fruit and help with seed dispersal
EDDIE SAYS
Producing appealing fruits that contain the seeds they need dispersed works well for many plants. Animals and humans disperse seeds by eating them along with the fruit, or leaving the seed uneaten well away from the parent plant. Ever seen a blackbird eating berries in autumn? In their gut the juicy fruit is digested but the seeds pass through their gut unharmed and pass out with their droppings a long way away from the parent plant. Clever!
  • Question 7

Which THREE of these fruits contain small seeds which are eaten and pass straight through the gut?

CORRECT ANSWER
strawberry
tomato
blackberry
EDDIE SAYS
Strawberry, tomato and blackberry seeds are all small - in fact, you'll often call them 'pips' which refers to small seeds. In the gut the juicy fruit is digested but the tough seed coat protects the seeds so they pass right through and out with the droppings (which act as fertilizer!). Avocados have a large stone and marrow seeds are quite big (like pumpkin seeds).
  • Question 8

Which THREE of these fruits contain large seeds which are left behind after the fruit is eaten?

CORRECT ANSWER
peach
apricot
cherry
EDDIE SAYS
Although these seeds are not eaten, humans spread them by eating the juicy fruit around them away from the adult tree. Then they, birds, other animals discard the 'stone' which contains the seed. If conditions are favourable it may germinate and grow into a new tree. Banana seeds are minute - that's the dark lines in the middle of a banana - thousands of them!
  • Question 9

Callie and Tom want to create the correct conditions for their sunflower seeds to germinate (to begin to grow.) Callie says that the seeds need water, warmth and soil. Tom says that the seeds only need water and warmth to begin to grow.

Who do you think is correct?

CORRECT ANSWER
Tom
EDDIE SAYS
Tom is correct, seeds need water and warmth to germinate, but without soil to grow in, the roots will not be able to anchor the growing plant.
  • Question 10

Callie and Tom know that the root grows first, followed by the stem. When the leaves grow, the plant needs warmth, water and what else so that it can produce its own food? Tick TWO boxes.

CORRECT ANSWER
light
carbon dioxide
EDDIE SAYS
Seedlings need light for photosynthesis - to make their own food in the leaves. They also need a gas called carbon dioxide which is found in the air. It will be combined with water from the soil to make food - incredible!
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