Myxospermy, the ability of a seed to produce mucilage upon hydration, is reported to provide important functional advantages to various aspects of seed ecology. Using data gathered from the myxospermous seeds of shepherd’s purse, Capsella bursa-pastoris, Deng et al. parameterize the volume and weight of the mucilage before and after expansion. They find that expansion occurs as a function of water uptake and polymer-chain relaxation, and the data are used to develop a diffusion-based mathematical model of seed-mucilage expansion, which may be applied to assess seed-mucilage–soil interactions.
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