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Late Season Garden Stars

Articles: Late Season Garden Stars

Tweedia caerulea Photo: Earl Nickel

As gardeners, we are naturally attracted to flowers and foliage. We know that most plants produce seeds and that they do so in an astonishing variety of ways. Few of us, however, plant strictly for the beauty of seed capsules. This article explores several candidates whose seedpods—defined here as a botanical structure that contains multiple seeds—might well be your garden’s next star attraction.

My research revealed a variety of unique and curious seed capsules. Organizing my list by form and structure gave me a way to talk about their appealing features as well as look at various methods of seed dispersal and protective devices that have evolved to optimize the success of a plant’s subsequent generations. While each of these seedpods is attractive, some of the following are beautiful, strange, or just plain fun.

Elongated pods

Decaisnea fargesii Photo: Sten/Wikimedia Commons

This form of seedpod is quite common in nature, beans and peas, of course, being the most familiar. But a plant who...


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