Mesemb seed capsules
Derek Tribble's informative and detailed display showed the seed capsules of various mesembs. Nearby was a water sprayer to mist and open the fruits. In habitat rain opens the fruits and raindrops distribute the seeds at a time when germination is more likely.
Also available was a hand lens to enable visitors to see the intricate mechanism of the capsules. Differences in these structures are important in distinguishing the genera in the family.
detail of the display illustrates the variation in size of the fruits,
even between species in the same genus, (Cheiridopsis).
On the far right is a closeup of the capsule of Cheiridopsis peculiaris, one of the biggest on display. Some idea of the complexity of the capsule structure is visible in this open fruit.
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