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Stunningly Beautiful Photos You Won’t Believe Are Actually Seeds

Flowers, trees, and vegetables get all the attention and love, but seeds? Not so much. However, these little beginnings are miniature wonders in their own right. Take a look at the stunning images from the new book 'Seeing Seeds.'

Robert Llewellyn

Butterfly Vine

This vine is a hardy, fast grower that thrives in warm climates like the Gulf Coast. Crafters love these vines because the dried pods can be used to dress up floral arrangements, potpourri, or even a wrapped present. For greater impact, you can spray-paint them. In the spring and occasionally in the fall, the vine bears yellow pinwheel-shaped flowers.

Robert Llewellyn


While the clematis flowers can be any of a few different colors (purple, red, white), the seedheads are all white and green. Some think they resemble a pinwheel; others compare it to a hairy eyeball. The tails or hairs enable this seedhead to travel far and wide.

Robert Llewellyn

Love-in-a-Mist, or Nigella

With its fetching, feathery stalks, enchanting name, and affinity for cooler climates, this plant is a regular in British cottage gardens. It’s also versatile. The fronds look stunning in arrangements, and the seeds are edible (they taste a bit like oregano and pepper) and prized in North African and Asian cooking. Researchers are also studying the effects of the seeds and their oil on type 2 diabetes, asthma, and colon cancer.

Robert Llewellyn

Chinese lantern

While the Chinese lantern’s seed pods are gorgeous, gardeners pay a price for their beauty: The plant can be invasive, especially in sunny, fertile spots. It has teeny-tiny white flowers in the summer that eventually grow into orange husks, or lanterns, which finally break down into a lacy phantom like the one shown here.

Robert Llewellyn


The inside of a datura pod bears a spooky resemblance to the human brain; fortunately, the pods themselves do not have faces. There’s another reason to be scared of these plants: They be dangerous, sometimes fatal, to ingest. Even handling the plants can often irritate people’s skin.

Robert Llewellyn

Southern magnolia

You’re no doubt familiar with magnolia’s beautiful blooms; now meet the fruit that follows them. Each is actually an amalgamation of multiple fruits. Its red seeds, which look like Tic-tacs, hang out for a while before dropping to the ground.

Robert Llewellyn


This piquant green is commonly enjoyed in restaurants, but diners never get to see these seeds—they appear only if the plants are allowed to flower. The seeds are edible and taste peppery, kind of like the leaves. Arugula is grown around the world. In Egypt, it’s considered a stimulant or aphrodisiac.

Robert Llewellyn

More Stunning Photos of Seeds

This information and images are all from the new Timber Press book Seeing Seeds. Check out the book to find more amazing photos of seeds as well as fun trivia about their uses and quirks.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest