Fruits, seed capsules and sporocarps

Autumn is the season of reproduction for most plants and other organisms such as fungi. The fruits and seeds of trees may be familiar, but the reproductive parts of mosses, lichens and slime moulds, for example, are perhaps less well-known. These are usually very small, but are often quite beautiful, as well as being highly specialised and adapted to providing the best possible opportunity for reproduction to be successful.


Click on an image below to view the gallery.

Spore capsules of juniper haircap moss (Polytrichum juniperinum), with water droplets after rain, in the birch-juniper woodland at Dundreggan. Many moss species produce spore capsules like this, on raised stalks, to aid dispersal by the wind.
Sloe or blackthorn (Prunus spinosa) with fruits in late summer at Dundreggan.
Sporocarps or fruiting bodies, of a slime mould (Trichia decipiens) on a birch log in Glen Affric. Slime moulds help to break down dead wood and other organic matter, and have a two stage life cycle - this is the reproductive phase, in which millions of microscopic spores are released when the fruiting bodies are fully ripe.
Dog lichen (Peltigera praetextata) on a log at Dundreggan, showing the brown apothecia, which release the spores of the fungal partner in the lichen.
Ripening seed capsule of a foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) at Dundreggan.

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