12 Aug2015

“Flying” Seeds…

by Marketman


Seeds with wings have fascinated me since I was a kid. How amazing is nature if it can provide a SEED with WINGS so that it can get as far away from it’s MOTHER TREE to give it a better chance of growing into a healthy adult. And the wings look so incredibly aerodynamic, kind of like car parts from a snazzy german designer. I am not sure what tree these particular seeds came from, but it turns out there are lots of trees around the world that have winged seeds.


The wings serve to keep the seeds afloat in the air longer, and if there is a breeze it can help propel the seed several meters away from the mother tree. I used to, and still do, collect these winged seeds when they appear (usually while driving through country roads) and take several home to play with…


Some close-up shots of the winged seeds, cool, no?


Now if only I can figure out how to get my drone to carry a few of these seeds and drop them like “bombs” from two or three stories above the ground… :)



  1. eynie says:

    Hi Sir MM, we also have that kind of “seeds flying” here at IIRR, Silang, Cavite, it has 3 petals..my kids love it lalo na po kung bumabagsak at paikot ikot sya…how I wish I could send you the photos po :)

    Aug 12, 2015 | 4:12 pm


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  3. odessa says:

    the mahogany seeds MM do the same. we toss them into the air and watch them “fly” … :)

    Aug 12, 2015 | 4:27 pm

  4. marilen says:

    Some species of maple trees also drop thousands of these ‘helicopter’ seeds. Beautiful to see how translucent the ‘pods’ are, when they dry up, almost like alabaster. Love to look at the fine veins of the ‘wings’

    Aug 13, 2015 | 10:53 am

  5. Footloose says:

    @Marilen, Pretty close to those of dragonflies although they obviously developed separately as nature’s attempt at navigating in thin air. They remind me of “just one of those things, a flight to the moon on gossamer wings.” I heard the kernel is edible but I haven’t tasted it. It looks like edamame, probably tastes similar too.

    Aug 13, 2015 | 5:05 pm

  6. belle says:

    Your shots are like a work of art with these flying seeds Mr. MM. Nice to put up on your wall.

    Aug 14, 2015 | 12:23 pm

  7. millet says:

    i’ve always been fascinated by them. nice one, MM.

    Aug 16, 2015 | 9:45 pm

  8. Peter Balzer says:

    Hello MarketMan,
    the seeds are from Taluto (Pterocymbium tinctorium) from the Malva family. The genus name indicates that the wings are boat-shaped. But there are many more tree in the Philippines that produce winged seeds. One other large family of Philippine trees is named after their winged seeds: Dipterocarpaceae. Trees like Apitong and Lawaan belong to it. Unfortunately, they are becoming rare in the Philippine forests…
    All the Best to you and your family,

    Aug 20, 2015 | 12:33 pm

  9. Marketman says:

    Peter, thanks for identifying the tree… Apitong and Lawaan are trees whose names I used to hear quite often growing up, but today it’s getting harder and harder to find them…

    Aug 20, 2015 | 1:15 pm

  10. Footloose says:

    Aug 21, 2015 | 8:12 pm

  11. Ian Jacobs says:

    Thanks for the ID and the drone idea. Somewhat unusual tree here (Thailand). Fruit and wing from Rayong as a 3D cross view is here … https://www.flickr.com/photos/jacobs_ian/26084296966/in/dateposted-public/

    Mar 30, 2016 | 8:22 pm

  12. Ferdinand Lanestosa says:

    Thanks Peter Balzer for the scientific name of the Taluto tree. I was searching for taxonomic classification of this tree because it is included in my research here in Mindoro, Philippines. It is still abundant here because the tree is protected by the Mangyan tribe for honeybees. The flowers are food of the honeybees and honey is a prized forest product. There are three more tree species which feed the honeybees with their nectar I know only with their local name – the Karangyan, Malugay and Malago.

    Feb 13, 2017 | 8:23 pm


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