Samara (fruit)
Overview
 
A samara is a type of fruit
Fruit
In broad terms, a fruit is a structure of a plant that contains its seeds.The term has different meanings dependent on context. In non-technical usage, such as food preparation, fruit normally means the fleshy seed-associated structures of certain plants that are sweet and edible in the raw state,...

 in which a flattened wing of fibrous, papery tissue develops from the ovary wall. A samara is a simple dry fruit and indehiscent (not opening along a seam). It is a winged achene
Achene
An achene is a type of simple dry fruit produced by many species of flowering plants. Achenes are monocarpellate and indehiscent...

. The shape of a samara enables the wind to carry the seed farther away than regular seeds from the parent tree:
  • The seed can be in the centre of the wing, as in the elm
    Elm
    Elms are deciduous and semi-deciduous trees comprising the genus Ulmus in the plant family Ulmaceae. The dozens of species are found in temperate and tropical-montane regions of North America and Eurasia, ranging southward into Indonesia. Elms are components of many kinds of natural forests...

    s (genus Ulmus) and the hoptree
    Hoptree
    The Hoptree or Common hoptree, Ptelea trifoliata in the Rutaceae family, is a deciduous shrub or small tree. . Also known as Wafer Ash, it is native to North America, from southern Eastern Canada, the Great Lakes region and the Northeastern U.S.; southward through the midwestern and southeastern...

     (Ptelea trifoliata).
  • The seed can be on one side, with the wing extending to the other side, making the seed autorotate
    Autorotation
    In aviation, autorotation refers to processes in both fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft. The term means significantly different things in each context....

     as it falls, as in the maple
    Maple
    Acer is a genus of trees or shrubs commonly known as maple.Maples are variously classified in a family of their own, the Aceraceae, or together with the Hippocastanaceae included in the family Sapindaceae. Modern classifications, including the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group system, favour inclusion in...

    s (genus Acer) and ashes
    Ash tree
    Fraxinus is a genus flowering plants in the olive and lilac family, Oleaceae. It contains 45-65 species of usually medium to large trees, mostly deciduous though a few subtropical species are evergreen. The tree's common English name, ash, goes back to the Old English æsc, while the generic name...

     (genus Fraxinus).


A samara is sometimes called a key and is often referred to as a whirlybird, helicopter
Helicopter
A helicopter is a type of rotorcraft in which lift and thrust are supplied by one or more engine-driven rotors. This allows the helicopter to take off and land vertically, to hover, and to fly forwards, backwards, and laterally...

, whirligig
Whirligig
A whirligig is an object that spins or whirls, or has at least one member that spins or whirls. Whirligigs are also known as pinwheels, buzzers, comic weathervanes, gee-haws, spinners, whirlygigs; whirlijig; whirlyjig; whirlybird; or plain whirly. Whirligigs are most commonly powered by the wind,...

, polynose, or, in the north of England, a spinning jenny
Spinning jenny
The spinning jenny is a multi-spool spinning frame. It was invented c. 1764 by James Hargreaves in Stanhill, Oswaldtwistle, Lancashire in England. The device reduced the amount of work needed to produce yarn, with a worker able to work eight or more spools at once. This grew to 120 as technology...

.
Encyclopedia
A samara is a type of fruit
Fruit
In broad terms, a fruit is a structure of a plant that contains its seeds.The term has different meanings dependent on context. In non-technical usage, such as food preparation, fruit normally means the fleshy seed-associated structures of certain plants that are sweet and edible in the raw state,...

 in which a flattened wing of fibrous, papery tissue develops from the ovary wall. A samara is a simple dry fruit and indehiscent (not opening along a seam). It is a winged achene
Achene
An achene is a type of simple dry fruit produced by many species of flowering plants. Achenes are monocarpellate and indehiscent...

. The shape of a samara enables the wind to carry the seed farther away than regular seeds from the parent tree:
  • The seed can be in the centre of the wing, as in the elm
    Elm
    Elms are deciduous and semi-deciduous trees comprising the genus Ulmus in the plant family Ulmaceae. The dozens of species are found in temperate and tropical-montane regions of North America and Eurasia, ranging southward into Indonesia. Elms are components of many kinds of natural forests...

    s (genus Ulmus) and the hoptree
    Hoptree
    The Hoptree or Common hoptree, Ptelea trifoliata in the Rutaceae family, is a deciduous shrub or small tree. . Also known as Wafer Ash, it is native to North America, from southern Eastern Canada, the Great Lakes region and the Northeastern U.S.; southward through the midwestern and southeastern...

     (Ptelea trifoliata).
  • The seed can be on one side, with the wing extending to the other side, making the seed autorotate
    Autorotation
    In aviation, autorotation refers to processes in both fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft. The term means significantly different things in each context....

     as it falls, as in the maple
    Maple
    Acer is a genus of trees or shrubs commonly known as maple.Maples are variously classified in a family of their own, the Aceraceae, or together with the Hippocastanaceae included in the family Sapindaceae. Modern classifications, including the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group system, favour inclusion in...

    s (genus Acer) and ashes
    Ash tree
    Fraxinus is a genus flowering plants in the olive and lilac family, Oleaceae. It contains 45-65 species of usually medium to large trees, mostly deciduous though a few subtropical species are evergreen. The tree's common English name, ash, goes back to the Old English æsc, while the generic name...

     (genus Fraxinus).


A samara is sometimes called a key and is often referred to as a whirlybird, helicopter
Helicopter
A helicopter is a type of rotorcraft in which lift and thrust are supplied by one or more engine-driven rotors. This allows the helicopter to take off and land vertically, to hover, and to fly forwards, backwards, and laterally...

, whirligig
Whirligig
A whirligig is an object that spins or whirls, or has at least one member that spins or whirls. Whirligigs are also known as pinwheels, buzzers, comic weathervanes, gee-haws, spinners, whirlygigs; whirlijig; whirlyjig; whirlybird; or plain whirly. Whirligigs are most commonly powered by the wind,...

, polynose, or, in the north of England, a spinning jenny
Spinning jenny
The spinning jenny is a multi-spool spinning frame. It was invented c. 1764 by James Hargreaves in Stanhill, Oswaldtwistle, Lancashire in England. The device reduced the amount of work needed to produce yarn, with a worker able to work eight or more spools at once. This grew to 120 as technology...

. During the autumn months, they are a popular source of amusement for children who enjoy tossing them in the air and watching them spin to the ground.

Some species that normally produce double samaras, such as Acer pseudoplatanus, can also produce a few multi-lobed samaras with 3 or 4 seeds.

Further reading

  • Spinning Flight : Dynamics of Frisbees, Boomerangs, Samaras and Skipping Stones, Ralph Lorenz, Copernicus New York, September 2006 ISBN 0-387-30779-6
The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
x
OK