The Atlantic

Tree Seedlings Have a Very Good Reason to Shirk Their Parents

Toxic soil means that staying close to home can be a death sentence.
Source: Shutterstock

In the study of forests, a central mystery has long stood unsolved: The seed that falls far from the tree does a whole lot better in life than the seed that stays close. Though scientists have never fully understood the reasons behind this pattern, they believe that something about the soil of an adult tree makes it unfriendly to seeds of the same species.

In a published in the , researchers grew seedlings in soil

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The Atlantic

The Atlantic4 min readScience
The Disappearing Y Chromosome
It’s surprisingly common for men to start losing entire chromosomes from blood cells as they age.
The Atlantic5 min read
The 10 Best Films of 2019
Perhaps fittingly for the end of the decade, 2019 was filled with thoughtful, retrospective works from master filmmakers who cast an eye on the past amid the rapid changes of the present. While veterans like Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino wres
The Atlantic6 min readPolitics
The Russification of the Republican Party
GOP lawmakers used to oppose the president’s embrace of Putin and the Kremlin. Not anymore.