What are seeds

Seeds are vital for the propagation of many plants

At some point in our life, we will have seen or even tasted some vegetable seeds, such as pipes, walnuts, chia seeds, etc. Most people know that plants can sprout from them, But could they explain exactly what seeds are?

To clarify any doubts regarding seeds, we are going to explain what they are, what their importance is, what parts they are made of, and how they can be germinated. If you are interested in the subject, I recommend that you continue reading.

What is the seed and what is its importance?

The seeds are part of the fruit and give rise to a completely new plant

To understand the importance of this part of the plant, first we are going to explain what seeds are, also known as seeds, pipes, seeds or dads. These bodies are part of the fruit and give rise to a completely new plant. Thanks to the seeds, spermatophyte plants are able to propagate. A small curious fact: The oldest seed known to date is from a fossil called runcaria and it was found in Belgium.

But how do the seeds come to be produced? It is very simple: When an ovule of a gymnosperm or an angiosperm matures, the seed is produced. It contains an embryo with the ability to develop into a new plant, as long as the conditions are right. It should be noted that the seeds contain a stored food source and that they are wrapped in a type of protective covering.

As we mentioned earlier, seeds are the only way spermatophyte plants can reproduce. Without them, a significant number of vegetables would not exist. Therefore we can say that the importance of seeds is vital.

Seed parts

Initially, stored food is basically a type of fine tissue that is called endosperm. This is provided by the parent plant and is usually rich in protein and starch or oil. In some plant species, the embryo is housed in the endosperm. This will be used by the seed to carry out germination. On the other hand, in other species the endosperm ends up being absorbed by the embryo while it grows inside the seed.

Regarding the seed coat, it develops from several small cubes that surround the ovule, called integuments. In some plants, this wrapper can become a thin shell once it has matured, such as peanuts, or a more substantial shell.

In the case of angiosperms, the seeds are found within structures that can be dry or fleshy, in some cases they can even be layers of both. These structures are known as fruits. In the Spanish language, the food that are sweet and fleshy fruits is called fruit. On the contrary, the seeds belonging to the gymnosperms begin to develop "naked" on the bracts of the cones, as is the case in most flowers. During their development, they are accompanied by scales that protect them and help disperse them.

Advantages

Unlike animals, including humans, plants have more limitations when it comes to seeking favorable conditions for their growth and for their life in general. As a consequence, its evolution has been very diverse in terms of propagation. The seed method is a very effective way to increase your population and it has a series of advantages that we will comment on below.

Carrot flower
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What are the advantages of seed plants?

In order for a seed to thrive, it has to reach a suitable place at the optimum time for germination. The properties that promote the production of the seeds that will become the next generation are probably more related to the fruits than to the seeds themselves. This is because the main function of the seed is that of a retarding mechanism. What does this mean? Well what it is capable of suspending growth when it notices that conditions are not favorable. In addition, it gives the necessary time so that it can disperse. These are the great advantages that seeds offer.

According to the plant species, achieves its propagation goal in a different way. They can use the production of a very high quantity of seeds as a strategy or they can wrap the seeds in very hard layers that soften with the winter cold and the rains, until they begin to germinate.

How to germinate the seeds?

There are different types of seed germination

Now that we know what seeds are, let's talk about their germination. But what is this exactly? It is the process by which an embryo begins to develop into a new plant. It is basically a gradual process that takes place once the embryo begins to swell to break the seed coat. For this, all plants require a series of basic elements so that they can develop and get enough energy. These basic elements required always depend on the plant species and are the following:

  • Water
  • Carbon dioxide
  • Temperature
  • Mineral salts
How to germinate seeds
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How to germinate seeds: 3 methods to do it easy and fast

There are two types of germination: Hypogeal germination and epigeal germination. We are going to discuss both.

Hypogeal germination

The cotyledons or first leaves of the seed remain buried in the hypogeal seedlings. The only part that goes through the ground is the plumule. In this germination, the hypocotyl is very short, not to say that it is non-existent. Consecutively, the epicotyl lengthens and the first true leaves appear. In this case, these first leaves are also the first photosynthesizing organs of the plant. The seeds that carry out this type of germination are, for example, cereals, beans, peas and oaks, among others.

Epigeal germination

In the case of epigeal seedlings, the hypocotyl has an important growth, causing the cotyledons to emerge from the soil. Afterwards, chloroplasts can be differentiated between the cotyledons, which end up transforming them into photosynthetic organs. Finally, the epicotyl begins to develop. This type of germination occurs in the seeds of, for example, onions, beans, lettuce and white mustard, among others.

I hope this article has cleared up all your doubts about what seeds are.


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