Horsetail spores don't need legs to jump

Horsetail spores don't need legs to jump

Plant's curly, humidity-controlled ribbons propel epic leaps

By Susan Milius, 17:50 PM September 10, 2013

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They look like lifeless green dust, but the spores of spiky horsetail plants can jump about 200 times their body length. That’s true even though they lack legs.

Equisetum spores trail long, double-layered ribbons called elaters that wrap around the main body of each spore. Biologists have previously seen elaters uncurl, nudging the spore along in a small walking step.

Now high-speed cameras have captured occasional jumps too fast for the human eye to see, says physicist Philippe ...

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