Thursday, November 8, 2012

Pods are fruits

Photos by Matt Ball 10/23/2012

One of the seeds from this pod.
There are lots of plants in the pea family (Fabaceae) in Sabino Canyon. Many of these plants have fruits like the two acacias above, namely, pods. Pods are fruits. [Top photo is the fruit of the White-thorn Acacia (Acacia constricta); bottom is the fruit of Cat-claw Acacia (Acacia greggii).] Challenge your kids to think of other desert plants in the pea family that have pods as fruit. (Some hints: AZ state tree(s), mesquites, fairy dusters) How might these seeds get around and into the ground?

For the advanced learner: All plants make carbohydrates, fats, and proteins using energy from the sun. (Yet another thing that's 'magic' in the universe!) Plants in the Fabaceae family generally make more proteins than other plants. What we call 'beans' (soy beans, kidney beans, garbanzo beans and even peanuts; in other words: legumes) (but not green beans/string beans - those are fruits) are really seeds, usually in a pod (fruit) like the photos above. The seeds (and often the pods) are generally much higher in proteins (and fats) than the seeds of other plants.

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