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Science
THE LIVING WORLD
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PROGRAMME INFO
Sunday 06:35-07:00
The Living World is a gentle weekend natural history programme, presented by Lionel Kelleway, which aims to broadcast the best, most intimate encounters with British wildlife.
nhuradio@bbc.co.uk
LISTEN AGAINListen 25min
Listen to 1 January
PRESENTER
LIONEL KELLEWAY
Lionel Kelleway
PROGRAMME DETAILS
Sunday 1 January 2006
Lionel Kelleway, with Pat Denne and Nigel Brown inspecting tree roots at Treborth Botanic Garden
A sample of seeds and berries found in the hegderows of Weardale.

SEEDS IN THE BREEZE

The LIVING WORLD takes as its theme new life and new beginnings as a New Year dawns.

Lionel Kelleway joins Phil Gates, a botanist from Durham University , near Wolsingham in Weardale where, amongst the old meadows, hedgerows, lanes and riverbank they search for plant seeds as they're released and dispersed, with a little help from the autumn breeze.

Nature is full of clever solutions, but some of the most beautiful examples of engineering and design are surely to be found amongst its plant seeds; from the dust-like seeds of orchid flowers to the heavy, chunky seed of the coconut.

Scouring the hedgerows and fields, Lionel and Phil discover a multitude of seeds; beautiful brown horse-chestnuts, spiky burrs of Burdock, Rosehip seeds inside their bright red berries and some bunches of ash keys. They play "pooh sticks" in a river with yellow flag iris seeds, try to avoid the cow pats in search of conkers, and swap stories about rosehips.

Seeds are the reproductive structures of higher plants, and consist of an embryo and a food store, surrounded and protected by a seed coat.

They come in many shapes and sizes, and ideally, before they germinate, they must disperse away from the parent plant. To do this, they need a little help from the wind, or animals, or water or by some mechanical means, eg the twisting and busting of a legume seed pod. Every species is adapted for one or more methods of seed dispersal.

Once dispersed, some seeds may germinate relatively quickly given the right conditions of soil, temperature and humidity; whilst others may undergo a period of dormancy until the conditions are just right.

In this engaging, fascinating and funny programme, Lionel and Phil marvel at Nature's designs; from exploding capsules to sticky burrs, from Burdock to Himalayan Balsam, from tiny grass seeds to giant coconuts!
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