Seeds are important in the rainforest because they are the baby trees. In a rainforest, when one tree dies, a bunch of smaller ones try to take its place. Without seeds, there wouldn't be any smaller trees.

Ladybug-Tree Seeds (Ormosia)

These seeds came from a tree called Ormosia, in the bean family. The tree grows to very tall heights in the tropical rainforest.

The seeds are bright colored, but scientists don't know exactly why. Sometimes a bright color is to scare away animals that might eat it (remember the poison dart frog). However, the color red is also used to attract birds. The seeds might be red so that birds will come and carry them away from the trees.

In the Amazon rainforest, native people use Ormosia seeds in necklaces and other jewelry. The native, or indigenous, peoples use the necklaces in religious ceremonies but also trade them with tourists travelling down the Amazon.

Palm Seeds
Raphia palm seeds

These seeds are from a palm tree called Raphia. They look a little like pine-cones, but are totally different. Under the scales they have a big hard seed.

Agoutis will eat the seeds of Raphia and disperse some seeds to different areas. Other dispersers include Tapirs and Peccaries. 

Copyright 1997-2007 Gerald R. Urquhart. For information on using this website in your classroom (which is free and highly encouraged), please contact Dr. Urquhart by email, Also, please send any comments or corrections to Dr. Urquhart.