In this module, you will learn:

  • the importance of seed dispersal
  • recognise the different methods for seed dispersal

Resources to help you:

  • Textbook: page 138 and 139
  • Notebook: page 35 and 36

What happens after fertilisation?

After fertilisation, the flower develops into the fruit and the seed(s). The seed contains the embryo which will develop into a young plant but before that can happen it needs to be moved to a suitable place to grow.

Watch the video

Learn about different methods of dispersal

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=06sbmWAzoys

You can change the speed to 0.75x to make it easier to listen.

Why dispersal?

It is important for the dispersal of seed to be away from the parent plant.


This is to prevent overcrowding. Overcrowding means that too many plants are growing in a small amount of space. This is not healthy for the plants because when all the plants are close together, they are competing for nutrients, water and sunlight.


When a plant does not get enough nutrients, water or sunlight, it will not grow optimally and may even die.

Credit: @germanopoli via DepositPhotos

The methods of dispersal

There are four main methods of seed dispersal:

  1. wind dispersal
  2. water dispersal
  3. animal dispersal
  4. self-dispersal


Wind dispersal


Characteristics of a wind-dispersed fruit or seed

  • they are light
  • they have wing-like or parachute-like structures
  • they can have hair like structures surrounding their seeds

Close up of a dandelion

Credit: @velkol via YayImages

A shorea fruit (meranti)

Credit: @Satakorn via YayImages

Dandelion seed getting carried by the wind

Credit: @Janetta via YayImages

Coconut husk has air trapped to allow it to float.

Credit: Lana_M via YayImages

The lotus pod floats on water.

Credit: @magann via DepositPhotos

Water Dispersal

Characteristics of a water-dispersed fruit or seed

  • Fruits or seeds that can float on water
  • Parent plants live near or on water.


The coconut has trapped air inside the husk giving it a density less that water. This allows it to float on water.

Animal Dispersal

Characteristics of a animal-dispersed fruit or seed

  • Fruits that are fleshy and juicy
  • Seeds with tough coats to protect from being digested
  • Fruits or seeds with spikes or hooks to attach to animal fur or clothings

A girl eating a watermelon that contains seeds

Credit: @irchena via Twenty20

Grass seeds clinging on clothing

Credit: @[email protected] via DepositPhotos

A monkey eating from a fruit and throwing away the seeds.

Credit: @cloudyew via YayImages

Different self dispersal fruits

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OB0P3mx_lxY

Self Dispersal

Characteristics of a self-dispersed fruit or seed

  • seeds stored in pods
  • fruit dries and explode

Ready for the next module?

In the next module, we will look at the germination of seeds.

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