05/22/2015

The Small But Mighty Seed

24:40 minutes

How often do you think about the seeds buried underneath your feet? Thor Hanson, biologist and author of The Triumphs of Seeds, takes us through the diverse biology and cultural history of seeds, from a date palm that sprouted from a 2,000-year-old seed to the dispersal ability of the java cucumber seed that inspired human flight. (Read an excerpt from the book here.)

Then, a new documentary examines the fight to save seeds, in all their genetic diversity. Seeds of Time, directed by Sandy McLeod, follows agriculturalist Cary Fowler on his quest to secure the world’s seed banks, and with them, the crop diversity that will help farmers adapt to climate change.

Segment Guests

Thor Hanson

Thor Hanson is author of The Triumph of the Seeds (Basic Books, 2015) and a biologist based in San Juan Island, Washington.

Cary Fowler

Cary Fowler is an advisor and former executive director of The Global Crop Diversity Trust in New York, New York.

Sandy McLeod

Sandy McLeod is director and producer of Seeds of Time (Kino Lorber, 2015) in New York, New York.

Meet the Producer

About Annie Minoff

Annie Minoff is co-host and producer of Undiscovered. She also plays the banjo.

Explore More

A Date Palm Named Methuselah

An excerpt from "The Triumph of Seeds," by Thor Hanson.

Read More