Originally published in the Manchester Guardian on 4 September 1916
Kew Gardens, September 3
On a sunny day among gorse bushes, when the wind has fallen, you can hear the seed-pods of the gorse bursting all around you. Lying in a hammock near the Alströmerias in the garden you can hear the same sharp snap as the hard covering explodes and the seeds are projected far and wide. This method of distributing seeds is common to a good many plants.
A correspondent from Whalley Range writes of the balsam which was introduced into his garden some two years ago, and which is now “beautifying the gardens along the road” by its energetic method of propagation. “I was,” he writes, “for some time at a loss to understand how the thing spread, and imagined the seeds must he carried on the wind, until, on attempting to remove the pods, the mystery was explained. When the seeds are ripe, the slightest touch causes the pod to burst with a snap and the seeds fly literally for yards. This gives children a most delightful thrill, but the most amusing sight is to see a big bumble-bee blunder against the pod, which immediately snaps off and sends him staggering.”
Source: Guardian Environment