Animal ballists

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The cards ( Dipsacus ) belong to the animal ballists. Their spiked stems act like catapults.

Animal ballism (zooballochorie) is a form of the propagation mechanisms of plants . It is used by numerous plants as a propagation mechanism, although only a few plants use this propagation mechanism exclusively. The mechanism is named after the ballista , an ancient catapult .

The stiff and bulky stems of the plants, which often have additional bristles or thorns, become obscured by animals passing by. When the stalks snap back, the seeds or fruits (Schüttelkletten) are hurled away like a catapult (e.g. with various capsule carriers, Lamiaceae or Dipsacus ). Animal ballism is a form that some authors count as part of the zoochory , the animal spread of plants, but mostly to the autochory , the spread through the plants' own mechanisms.

The juice pressure spreader and the drying spreader usually get by without animal help with the ballochorie , the spread through centrifugal mechanisms .

The animal ballists differ from the animal shakers in that the seeds are not thrown away like a catapult. In the case of the animal shakers, the animal movements only ensure that capsules , pods or follicles are unbalanced in such a way that they distribute the seeds, similar to a spreader box.

In addition to the animal ballists, there are also rain and wind ballists , these are sub-forms of the ballochorie . Also Tierballisten as the Windballisten , the wind scattering and the animals spread a subtype of Semachorie .

See also


  • FG Schroeder: Textbook of plant geography. Quelle & Meyer, 1998, ISBN 3-494-02235-6 , p. 34, online at, accessed September 2, 2017.