Dispersal of Plants

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Dispersal of Plants


the enlargement of the area of distribution of certain plant species through their naturalization in new places and the scattering of their seeds or spores. The extent of plant dispersal is determined by the number of viable seeds or spores produced by the plant, the means of dispersal, and the possibilities for successful growth in the new environment. Plant dispersal can occur gradually or abruptly (covering a large distance all at once); the first type predominates under natural conditions.

The main agents of dispersal are air currents (anemochory), inland waterways (hydrochory), ocean currents, animals (zoochory), and various forms of human activity (anthropochory). The dispersal of plants may be restricted by geographical, ecological, and biological factors. Seas, straits, and mountains may be “impassable” by plants of a given species, and the climate and other abiotic and biotic natural conditions may not be suitable. There may also be competition from other species. The means of dispersal and the obstacles to dispersal determine the possible extent of plant dispersal.


Tolmachev, A. I. Vvedenie v geografiiu rastenii. Leningrad, 1974.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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