Seed is a plant embryo and food reserve enclosed in a protective outer covering. It is the characteristic reproductive body of both angiosperms (flowering plants) and gymnosperms (conifers).
Many seeds are adapted for dispersal by animals, wind, or water, allowing them to move and establish themselves in new environments. This is important for plant evolution and adaptation.
What is a seed?
A seed is one of the hard parts of a plant that grows into a new plant. It contains a miniature undeveloped plant, called an embryo, and food reserves enclosed within a protective seed coat.
The outer seed coat protects the embryo from physical, mechanical, temperature-related and water damage. It also provides a nutritious material, called endosperm, that supplies food for the embryo.
Every flowering plant, or angiosperm, produces seeds from a mature ovule within its ovary. These seeds are often surrounded by fruits, but they can also be isolated from fruit walls through the formation of a funiculus, a stalk, or other structure.
All seeds are capable of growing into a plant when conditions are right. For most seeds, these conditions include having the proper amount of water and soil moisture and favorable soil temperatures. Certain light, heat, smoke, or other stimuli may also trigger germination.
How do seeds grow?
Seeds have an important role in the life of plants. They’re vital for reproduction and the growth of a plant.
A seed is a tiny, nutrient-packed package that holds all the information and instructions for a plant to grow into a healthy plant. When a seed is planted, it starts to grow roots that will access water underground.
As the seed takes up water, it gets bigger and produces enzymes that start the process of growing a plant. The enzymes break down the endosperm, which is the seed’s food reserve for growth, to release energy.
Then, the embryo inside the seed begins to enlarge, and the seed coat breaks open. A root then emerges first, followed by a shoot that contains the leaves and stem of the plant.
All seeds need the right conditions to germinate successfully. These include a balance of moisture, air and optimal temperature (Miles and Brown 2007).
What are the different types of seeds?
Seeds are a basic unit of planting material. They contain a fertilized ovule and an embryo that grows to form a plant.
Some seeds are edible and contain a variety of nutrients. These include omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, protein and antioxidants.
Hybrid seeds are the most common type of garden seeds. They are produced by crossing two different varieties of plants, usually to produce a new type of fruit or vegetable that’s more resistant to disease.
Most home gardeners grow a mix of open-pollinated, hybrid and heirloom seeds. This decision is often based on taste, preference, and values.
How do I grow seeds?
Seeds are an inexpensive and easy way to start a variety of flowers, vegetables, annuals, and perennials. It’s also a good way to try out unusual and heirloom varieties.
You can find seeds in many different places, including nurseries, catalogs, and online sources. You can also order them from seed companies that specialize in seeds that grow well in your area.
Most seeds need warmth and light to germinate. Check the seed packet for soil temperature requirements.
The best time to start seeds indoors is eight weeks before the last expected frost date in your region. Place them in a warm, draft-free place with plenty of light.
You can use plastic seed trays ($16, The Home Depot) or recycled plastic containers such as egg cartons and empty milk jugs. Make sure to punch a drainage hole in each container before planting.