Seeds: ceaseless wonders

IMG_0847My dear friend Sam Guard sent me this excerpt from  . . . And Still Our Wonder by Victor R. Boswell from the USDA’s Yearbook of Agriculture, 1961.

Seeds are vehicles for the spread of new life from place to place by elements and by animals and people.
Seeds protect and sustain life. They are highly organized fortresses, well stocked with special supplies of food against long siege.
Seeds are food for man and animals and other living things.
Seeds are wealth. They are beauty. They are carriers of aid, of friendship, of good will.
Seeds are a source of wonder. They are objects of earnest inquiry in man’s enduring search for living things. They are a way by which embryonic life can be almost suspended and then revived to new development, even years after the parents are gone.
Why does a very dry seed become so insensitive that it can tolerate harsh, deep freeze temperatures for years with no harm, no loss of vigor?
Why do some seeds require alternating temperatures in order to grow, while others do not?
A light-sensitive seed, while dry, may be so well protected that it is unaffected by daylong exposure to sunlight, yet after it becomes moist, it can respond to exposure from a flash lamp as short as 1/1000th of a second.
Why do some small plants produce seeds that are much larger than the seeds from much larger plants?
How is it that seeds are so wondrously different among species, and yet all are evolved to accomplish exactly the same thing.
Scientists study seeds for two kinds of reasons: to learn how man can produce and use them more efficiently and effectively; and they are especially convenient forms of living material for studying the fundamentals of life processes.
Seeds are a source of ceaseless wonder.
Researchers are conducting more inquiries into seeds today than ever before — and still our wonder grows.

And in 2013, our wonder still grows. Thank you, Sam.

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