Original Articles

The function of the hygroscopic awn of Themeda triandra 1

DOI: 10.1080/02566702.1990.9648248
Author(s): K.M. AdamsDepartment of Grassland Science, Republic of South Africa, N.M. TaintonDepartment of Grassland Science, Republic of South Africa


The hygroscopic awn of species such as Themeda triandra is widely believed to be a device ensuring the early burial of its seed. This belief has been extensively tested and no tendency for such self‐burial has been found. It has been demonstrated that the propelling action of the awn does cause the seed to move along the surface and its possible function as a dispersal mechanism is tentatively suggested.

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