Seeing the Shape of Seeds

Seeing the Shape of seeds

Seeds come in many different shapes. Try closing your eyes and rolling a seed between your fingers. Can you identify the seed by touch? In the case of corn, there are six distinct kernel shapes depending on how much of the seed is hard, soft, or sugary. These traits, a reflection of thousands of years of selection, influence how we use different varieties of corn. Can you identify the six types on this postcard?

 

Learning the Language of Seeds

How do you say “corn”? A highly specific scientific language is used to talk about plants, but those words are only part of the story. Our seed literacy initiative is a holistic approach to understanding plants, food, seeds and their diverse connections to culture, food systems, politics, history, spirituality, science, agriculture, ecosystems, and ethics. What do seeds mean to you? Sign up for our newsletter to hear how farmers, gardeners, eaters, and seed stewards answer the question “What is a seed?” and then share your own seed words with the Seedshed community.

 

Connecting the Cycles of Seeds

Gently shake the tassels of flowering corn and watch what happens. If the dust-like pollen doesn’t reach the silks, the kernels won’t develop. Did you know that beneath the shelter of the husk, each shiny corn silk is attached to just a single kernel of corn? To help capture the pollen as it drifts by on the breeze and ensure that every kernel grows, each silky stigma is covered in fine hairs. Becoming a seed steward involves nurturing plants through their entire life cycle and coming to understand, and appreciate, their patterns.