Drifting Along With the Breeze

Drifting Along With the Breeze - Tumbleweed

Plants disperse their seeds in various ways. Many of them allow their seeds to be carried away by the wind. A method used by other plant species involves allowing the entire plant to go drifting along with the breeze. We call them tumbleweeds.

Tumbleweeds have often been associated with the American southwest, but they exist in primarily arid or desert areas in many countries of the world. A tumbleweed is simply a plant that breaks off from its roots and rolls along in the wind. Sometimes only part of the plant carrying the seeds breaks off. Also, some plants that produce spores rather than seeds become tumbleweeds.

As the plant is drifting along with the breeze, it scatters the seeds or spores over a wide area. This seed dispersal system works well in dry, open, windy areas. Unfortunately, sometimes it works too well. Humans have accidentally transported tumbleweeds from their native environments into new areas where they become invasive species. Sometimes they get caught in fences or get tangled with each other. These tumbleweed clusters can even grow large enough to block roads or houses. On the other hand, tumbleweeds can be beneficial by serving as food for animals or livestock in the dry rangelands. What could be better than for your food to come drifting along with the breeze right to you?

For the tumbleweeds to disperse their seeds and bring new life, they have to die first. As the dead plant degrades, the seeds are released, and new life begins in the desert. Jesus Christ said, “Unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds” (John 12:24). Jesus spoke those words knowing that He would soon give His life. However, from His death would come new life for all who will accept it because He rose to conquer death. Jesus was not just drifting along. He knew exactly what he was about to do, and He did it for you and me.

— Roland Earnst © 2022