Only recently did I become aware of the botanical suffix -coria/-chory, which indicates the disseminating of seeds via a particular mechanism. The suffix is based on the Greek verb khōrein ‘to spread,’ from the noun khōros ‘a place, room.’

Here are a few words containing the suffix:

zoocoria/zoochory  — the dispersal of seeds by an animal. This is further broken down into:

epizoocoria/epizoochory [Greek epi- ‘upon’] — a type of dispersal in which seeds get stuck on an animal’s fur (or a person’s clothing or hair) and carried to a new location

endozoocoria/endozoochory [Greek endo- ‘inside’]— a type of dispersal in which an animal eats seeds, which then pass through its digestive tract and are excreted in a new location; from Greek endo– ‘inside.’

ornitocoria/ornithochory [Greek ornith- ‘bird’] — dispersal of seeds by birds.

anemocoria/anemochory [Greek anemos ‘wind’] — dispersal of seeds by the wind.

hidrocoria/hydrochory [Greek hydr- ‘water’] — dispersal of seeds by water.

© 2013 Steven Schwartzman


9 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. shoreacres
    Mar 10, 2013 @ 15:38:07

    I know an inordinate number of people who’ll sit around talking about how to identify the presence of animals by their scat. Now, I can tell the raccoon, deer, nutria and possibly possum folks that they’re specialists in endozoochory.


  2. kathryningrid
    Mar 11, 2013 @ 18:48:49

    I am the proud caretaker of a charming little mulberry sapling that some bird or squirrel generously donated to our garden by means of pre-fertilized endozoochory. Hope the tree will survive transplantation, when it’s large enough, to repeat the cycle with the necessary assistance from future generations of local fauna.


    • Steve Schwartzman
      Mar 11, 2013 @ 21:59:17

      There’s satisfaction in learning a word—in this case endozoochory— and finding an opportunity to put it to work right away. You even have a twofer if your mulberry sapling was due to ornithochory.

      You reminded me that we had a mulberry tree next to the house I grew up in on Long Island. I don’t know if someone planted it or if it sprang up through some sort of -chory. However it got there, it produced berries.

      By the way, the WordPress editor underlined endozoochory and ornithochory, an indication that it doesn’t recognize those word as real ones. I wish I could apply some logochory (i.e. the spreading of words) to the editor.


  3. Claudia Lorena Iturriaga Miranda
    Dec 03, 2014 @ 00:51:33

    Hi!!! i’m writting an important paper and i really need some reference for the exact same info. I’ve been looking in sanish and english i can’t find one! Can you help me please?


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©2011–2016 Steven Schwartzman
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