Evolution has devised myriad ways to generate motion, a fundamental task for a biological entity. In this talk, I explore the use of elasticity to generate rapid motion, in particular by presenting modelling work on two specific examples. In the animal kingdom, the tongue of the chameleon is a remarkable multilayer mechanical structure, capable of high speed ballistic motion. Rapid motion is far more rare in the plant world, typically requiring more ‘clever' storage and release of energy. This is exemplified by the explosive seed dispersal of Cardamine hirsuta.