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Margaret Warner Morley

The Amazing World of Seeds

S EEDS, seeds! Everywhere we look we find the seeds.

Here is a bright red apple. We cut it open, and there in the middle is the core—a tough little box filled with seeds—little black apple seeds.

Here is a golden pear. How good it smells! Cut it open and there is the core filled with pear seeds. And in the core of the quince we find of course quince seeds.

We open a peach, and we find a core as hard as wood. We call it the pit or stone, and inside the peach pit is one peach seed. Here is a handful of ripe plums. In the middle of each is the plum pit with the seed inside. When cherries are ripe we throw the cherry stones on the ground, each with its seed safe inside.

The tough cores and the hard pits hold the seeds in safe-keeping. For the seeds are important. They are alive. They are the eggs of the plants, and if they get a chance they will hatch out—sprout we call it—into tiny plants that grow and grow and in time bear flowers and seeds.

Open a bean pod—beans, that is to say, seeds, are inside. And it is the same with the pea pod; when we open it we find the peas which are the seeds of the pea vine.

There are the tiny dandelion seeds sailing about like little air-ships. They do not grow in pods. You blow them off the top of the stem when they are ripe, and away they sail, for each little seed has a pretty parasol over its head that the wind strikes and so blows it along. Lettuce seeds sail in the same way, and in the summer and autumn you will find a great many other kinds of seeds sailing about. Sometimes the air is full of them, some quite big, and some very small. The wind blows them far and wide. Down from the maple tree whirl the pretty keys—and what are these but seeds with wings? The seed of the elm tree also has its wings, and the wind whirls them away.

You think a nut is just a nut. It really is a seed. The hard shell protects the soft seed inside. When we eat a nut we eat a seed, which is just a young little nut tree. Every time we eat a chestnut we eat a very tiny chestnut tree. Every time we eat a peanut, we eat a little peanut vine.

When we eat the sweet corn from the cob we are eating corn seeds, for each kernel is a seed. And corn bread is made of the ripe seeds of the corn. A grain of wheat is also a seed. The rice grain is a seed. Oats are seeds. All the grains we use are seeds.

If you want a flower garden you plant flower seeds. Morning-glory seeds grow on the morning-glory vines, and nasturtium seeds come from the nasturtium plants, and pink seeds from pinks, and poppy seeds from poppies.