• Strategy

Surface tension flings spores: fern

The spores of one fern are launched from the sporangium using a mechanism based on surface tension and evaporation.

"A mechanism based on the surface tension of water is used by a fern that forcibly discharges its spores from the sporangium--evaporation decreases the volume of water and increases the surface curvature in a series of cuplike dead cells until the sustainable cohesion is exceeded; water then vaporizes and tension is relieved by a movement analogous to that involved in throwing a spear (Steward 1968)." (Vogel 2003:449)

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About the inspiring organism

Learn more at EOL.org
Organism/taxonomy data provided by:
Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life: 2008 Annual Checklist

Bioinspired products and application ideas

Application Ideas: Irrigation or pest control devices activated by surface tension created by evaporation.

Industrial Sector(s) interested in this strategy: Agriculture

Steven Vogel. 2003. Comparative Biomechanics: Life's Physical World. Princeton: Princeton University Press. 580 p.
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