The options vary; swimming, flying or hitching a ride on an animal is up to you, as long as you get there (the end justifies the means) according to the seeds. Seeds, in all shapes and sizes have to ensure they carry on reproducing to the next generation and so they are adapted to suit their environment so that their types continue to flourish.
Have you ever looked in awe at the varying shapes of the coca palm and banana seeds and wondered why their shape is the way it is? Apparently, weight matters; in fact, it may be a matter of life and death for the seed.
For seeds to fly, they need wings and so the flying seeds have wings in form of very light feathery hairs (briers) and sometimes these can be hard and sharp in order to be able to stick to animal fur or different things like people’s clothes as they move through the plants. Still more seeds travel inside the stomachs of animals and birds that eat them and then deposit them through their waste and bam! You have a jackfruit tree! Other seeds are very heavy (like the avocado ones) so that they can sink deeply into the ground and stay put!
Another consideration is the seed shape. When small round seeds fall, they can bounce or roll in different directions and end up sprouting in various areas. More seeds may need to be buried underground so that they can get access to water and nutrition from the soil.
Whereas some plants have many seeds; like grass, maize, pawpaw others have a few but quite huge like mangoes and coconuts.
Whatever their size, all these various seeds are much needed and very precious! Their importance has been seen when war, or natural disasters have wiped out entire seed types leaving them a thing of the past. To prevent the extinction of the various seeds, storages have been constructed in various places in the world but the most famous one is the Global Seed Vault in Svalbard, which is between mainland Norway and the North Pole. It was etched in a mountain to ensure that no disasters, natural or otherwise get to it and destroy the valuable seeds.
Other seed banks are Louisiana Native Plant Initiative in the United States of America and The NSW Seed bank in Australia. What the future of the seeds is in Rwanda is the million Franc question!
Lois Nakibuuka is an educator and counsellor