Come September the Velvet Leaf greenery is withered to strands, but the seed pods remain. The seed pods are still erect, but they’ve turned from the summertime green to a dark brown color.
The small barbs or spines on the outside of the seedpods helps to disperse the seed by the way of animal traffic and perhaps windy weather. (Photos taken 17Oct2013. Click on images for larger view.)
Seeds are nutritive food for even the smallest of creatures. Each seed pod that was investigated had at least one inhabitant, like this small beetle that fell out when the pod was tapped on my hand.
The seed pods open up at one end to release their seeds. They also break into individual pockets that are likely carried on the wind or animal coats for seed dispersal.