Plants are cooler than you think. Just check out these spores dancing!


Equisetum plants (horsetails) produce tiny spores 0.05 mm wide attached to “elaters” — the swinging arms and legs that curl up or flail to make these spores “jump” when the surrounding air dries. This jumping mechanism allows the spores to get above other plants and get off the ground to catch wind currents. Catching the wind is important to take them to new locations — away from competition with other plants — where they can germinate to create new Equisetum plants (gametophytes). I wish I had elaters to rock on outta boring dates or a party that dries up!


Thanks to Philippe Mamottant, Alexandre Ponomarenko, and Diane Bienamé for this research and awesome video. Their full paper published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B is here.

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