Free Nature Studies: How Seeds Find New Homes (Dispersal)

Plants have many interesting and varying ways to spread their seeds!

Read the current chapter online: “How Seeds Find New Homes”


When you start a flower garden, you plant the seeds of the kinds of flowers you want.  The farmer plants seeds of corn and wheat, tomatoes and lettuce.  But how about the wild plants, the grass, the wildflowers and weeds, the big trees in the forest?  How do their seeds get planted?  How do plants spread their seeds so that almost every bit of the earth’s land surface that has enough moisture is covered with vegetation?

Plants spread their seeds in many different ways. Some are blown about by the wind, some float on the water, some hitchhike rides on animals. Some plants even plant their own seeds, and some just let their seeds drop to the ground.

A seed is a wonderful device that does two things: (1) it helps a plant to travel; (2) it protects the baby plant against enemies and bad weather until conditions are right for the young plant to start growing.

You may object that plants do not travel; they take root in a spot and stay there. The old oak tree, of course, has to stay where it is. But every acorn contains a new small oak tree inside the shell. When strong winds blow and the acorns fall, some of them may hit projecting limbs on their way down and bounce many feet away from the parent tree. Squirrels may carry acorns some distance and bury them. If the squirrel fails to return for its buried food supply the acorn may grow into a new tree some distance away from the parent tree. And thus, while they are still very small babies, the oak trees do travel. So it is with most plants; they do their traveling while in the seed.

“How Plants Spread Their Seeds” The Book of Knowledge
  • Plants
    Ready to go outdoors? The Handbook of Nature Study covers plants beginning on page 453, and continuing through page 731. The beginning pages cover how to begin the study of plants and their flowers, and then follow guidelines for investigating specific wildflowers, weeds, garden flowers, cultivated crop plants, trees, and flowerless plants.  You’ll find seeds discussed throughout.  (For example, see the milkweed discussion in the wildflower section.)

Further Investigation

Seed Dispersal shows different methods and types of plants that use that method to disperse seeds.

Seeds and Seed Dispersal
Discussion for older students from Weber State University.

Is a Coconut a Fruit, Nut or Seed?
Interesting “mystery” from the Library of Congress.

Plant Structures: Seeds
The function, structure and growth of seeds at the Colorado State University Extension Center for older students.


Gone With the Wind
An experiment from Science Buddies.

Maple Seed Helicopters
Is there anyone that hasn’t done this? Activity at NASA.

Exploring Science and Design with a Maple Seed
From biology and physics, to calculus and computer science, to aerodynamics and astronomy. Who knew you could learn so much with a maple seed? Activities at Indiana University.

Seed Dispersal Mechanisms
Along with a ‘helicopter’ experiment at Northern Arizona University.

The First Book of Plants {Free eBook}

The First Book of Plants {Free eBook}
Free public domain title that makes an excellent introduction to plants and can be used as a helpful plant study reference.

Little Wanderers by Margaret Warner Morley
Beautiful book for younger children covering the various ways seeds disperse.  Includes seeds that fly, float, cling, shoot out, and that animals eat.  In the public domain.

The Fly-aways and Other Seed Travelers by Francis Marion Fultz
A look at the fly-aways, sailors, jumpers, swimmers, and more!

Seed Dispersal by W. J. Beal
Short public domain work that discusses the different plants that disperse their seeds in various ways.

Unit Studies & Lesson Plans

How Seeds Get Here…And There
4-page download at the Missouri Botanical Garden with four seed dispersal activities.

Scattering Seeds
Lesson plan at for middle grades where students discover the seed dispersal method.

Parable of the Sower
Free lesson to go with the third activity at Calvary Chapel Children’s Ministry.

Printables & Notebooking Pages

Nature Journal Notebooking Sets {Free Download}
Free blank nature journal sets for drawing, illustrating, copying, or narrating.

How Seeds Find New Homes (Dispersal) Notebooking Pages
Simple pages that go with the lesson for copywork, narrations, and wrapping up.

Enjoy the complete series:
Free Nature Studies: Our Wonderful World
Free Nature Studies: Our Wonderful World

Don’t Miss a Thing!

Subscribe to receive updates and additions.

Learn to Write. Write.:

Write Something Every Day

Tools for the Homeschool Handy-Mom

At DIY Homeschooler we provide encouragement and resources to those homeschool handy-moms paving their own way — solutions to help you “do-it-yourself” when it comes to tutoring your children. Learn more.

The Latest

Affiliate Disclosure

Throughout this site you will find affiliate links to items that we trust and enthusiastically recommend. If you decide to use these links to make a purchase, we do receive a small compensation that helps support this site. Thank you! Read our full affiliate disclosure to learn more.

Keep Reading

Create a website or blog at