In the garden we plant colorful flowers and plants with different heights, colors and textures, but how about plants that have pretty seeds? Incorporating plants with attractive seed pods is as important as varying the size, shape and color of plants in the landscape. Read on to learn about plants with interesting seed pods.
About Seed Pod Plants
Plants that produce true pods are members of the legume family. Peas and beans are well-known legumes, but other less familiar plants are also members of this family, such as lupines and wisteria, whose blooms give way to bean-like seed pods.
Other plants produce pod-like seed constructions that differ botanically from legume seed pods. Capsules are one type, produced by blackberry lilies and poppies. Poppy capsules are dark rounded pods with a ruffle on top. Inside the pod are hundreds of tiny seeds that not only self-sow, but are delicious in a variety of confections and dishes. Blackberry lily capsules are less showy, but the seeds within look just like giant blackberries (hence the name).
The following is just a smattering of the unique seed pods and other seed constructs available in the natural world.
Plants with Interesting Seed Pods
Many flowering plants have incredible looking seed pods or even pretty seeds. Take the Chinese lantern plant (Physalis alkekengi), for example, which produces papery orange husks. These husks gradually erode to create a lace-like netting surround an orange fruit with seeds inside.
Love-in-a-puff not only has a romantically quirky sounding name, it produces a puffy seed pod that evolves from green to red as it matures. Within the seedpod are individual seeds marked with a cream-colored heart, eliciting its other common name of heartseed vine.
Both of these seed pod plants have attractive seed pods but they’re just the tip of the iceberg. Some plants produce water thin seed pods. The money plant (Lunaria annua), for instance, has attractive seed pods that start off paper thin and lime-green. As they mature, these fade to a papery silver color that shows off six black seeds inside.
Other Plants with Pretty Seeds
The lotus plant has such attractive pods they are often found dried in floral arrangements. The lotus is an aquatic plant native to Asia and is revered for the large gorgeous flowers that bloom atop the water’s surface. Once the petals fall, the large seed pod is revealed. Inside each hole of the seedpod is a hard, round seed that falls out as the pod dries up
Ribbed fringepod (Thysanocarpus radians) is another plant that has pretty seeds. This grass plant produces flat, green seed pods scalloped in pink.
Milkweed is the Monarch butterflies’ only food source, but that isn’t its only claim to fame. Milkweed produces a fantastic seed pod that is large, rather squishy, and contains dozens of seeds, each attached to a silky thread rather like a dandelion seed. When the pods split, the seeds are carried away by the wind.
The love pea (Abrus precatorius) has really beautiful seeds. The seeds are prized in India where the plant is native. The brilliantly red seeds are used for percussion instruments and nothing else, as they are incredibly toxic.
Last, but not least, there are the attractive seed pods of the bushy seedbox or Ludwigia alternifolia. It is similar to a poppy seedpod, except the shape is definitely a box shape with a hole on top to shake out the seeds.