SEEDS: What are they, Types, Functions and Parts

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In general, we all know what a seed is: that hard part in most fruits that, if sown in the right conditions, can give rise to a new plant. And although a definition as basic and simple as this is correct in the vast majority of cases, the truth is that these little treasures of evolution have enormous importance in a very large part of the plant kingdom, so it is worth stopping at observe them and know them in depth.

If you want to learn more about what are the seedsWhat is its function, its parts and the types that there are, join us in this Green Ecologist article.

What are seeds - definition

If we seek to give a more exact definition, a seed is a part of flowering plants (or phanerogams), which is usually found in the interior of the fruit and that it has within it the embryo that, under favorable circumstances, can give rise to a new plant.

In addition, the seed is the result of the sexual reproduction of the plant, so the new specimen that grows will be slightly different from the plants from which it has emerged. The seed contains, in addition to the embryo, nutrients for it, as we will see later.

Seed function

The seeds meet in the spermatophyte or phanerogamic plants exactly the same function as eggs in oviparous animals. They are their way of spreading and growing their population. The main difference with this system in animals, plants do not have their freedom of movement or many of their capabilities. Because of this, they have had to develop different ways of colonizing new territories. The seeds contained in the fruits or flowers are one of the most successful results of this race for survival.

Most fruits tend to have seeds inside. When the fruit falls to the ground, or when it is consumed by an animal, the seeds end up reaching the ground, scattered by the action of the elements, such as the wind, or the animals themselves. Many seeds are still able to germinate even after they have passed through the entire digestive system of an animal, thus contributing to the spread over lands far from the plant of origin.

In addition, part of the importance of the seed lies in its ability to delay its "birth" or germination until the circumstances are right. A seed that falls to the ground when the temperature or humidity conditions are not suitable, if they are not, it will not germinate until they improve.

Many of them can spend long periods of time in a waiting state, protected by their outer layer until the moment of the seed germination. This distinction, which might seem small, represents a great increase in the chances of success of the future plant.

There are many types of seeds, which follow different strategies to achieve the most effective propagation possible, but all of them seek to fulfill this same objective.

Seed parts

From the outside, the seeds may appear compact and homogeneous, but inside, several very well differentiated parts can be distinguished. These are the main parts of the seed:

  • Embryo: the embryo is, as in animals, the tiny plant from which the new specimen will develop. It is contained inside the seed in a dormant state, waiting for the moment to germinate. Within the embryo itself, 4 parts are distinguished:
  • Radicle: it is the first root of the embryo. From it all the other roots of the plant will emerge.
  • Plumule: a bud, at the end facing the radicle.
  • Hypocotyl: the space between the two previous parts. When it grows, it will form a stem.
  • Cotyledon: it can be just one or two, depending on whether the silver is monocot or dicot. They are the first leaves of the plant, which are not true leaves as such. Here we explain more about what is a cotyledon, its characteristics and functions and in this other post you can learn what are monocotyledonous plants and examples.
  • Endosperm: This occupies most of the volume of the seed, and is a reserve of nutrients and food for the embryo to feed on in its early stages of development. It is usually composed mainly of starch. It is also called albumen.
  • Episperm: It is the outer layer, which in many cases is hard and isolates the embryo and endosperm from predators and threats.

Learn more about the parts of the seed and their functions with this other article from Green Ecologist.

Types of seeds

There is a large number of types of seeds, that current agriculture has differentiated according to its uses and utilities. These are some of the main ones:

  • Creoles: Creole seeds are those that have adapted to a certain environment, either by human intervention or by natural selection. They are typical of organic and traditional agriculture.
  • Enhanced: As their name suggests, they are seeds that have undergone different selection processes and techniques, such as controlled pollination, to optimize certain characteristics of their own.
  • Baby: These have been modified so that the plant does not develop fully, producing more tender and sweeter plants.
  • Hybrids: hybrid seeds are the result of crossing two different varieties. They are usually very strong plants with a great capacity for production and growth.

If you want to read more articles similar to Seeds: what are they and types, we recommend that you enter our Biology category.

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