Seeds are the most important food source for most animals and plants. They contain concentrated energy in the form of starches and fats.
Seeds are used to grow many kinds of flowers, vegetables, trees, and grasses. They are also important in plant breeding. Seeds are potent survivors and successful travelers, which is why weeds continue to pose such difficulties for gardeners and farmers.
Seed is the mature fertilized ovule of a plant that, given suitable growth conditions, will grow into a new plant. Seeds are a special feature of gymnosperm (conifer) and angiosperm plants, as opposed to more primitive ferns, mosses, and liverworts, which do not produce seeds. Most seeds are encapsulated in a protective outer covering, the seed coat. They also contain food reserves in the form of endosperm and cotyledons.
Seeds allow a plant to spread and colonize new areas of the world, as they can be dispersed by wind, water, or animals. Without seeds, many species of plants could not survive as they do now.
The seed concept is also used figuratively, as in the phrase “to show one’s seed.” This term refers to progeny and descendants, including children and grandchildren. It is also used in the Bible to refer to an entire nation, conceived as a family unit. The Bible also references the practice of measuring land by its seed capacity.
Seeds are at the core of plant reproduction, enabling plants to disperse themselves in new environments. They are also a means of storing food and surviving harsh conditions.
Scientists study the different mechanisms that keep seeds dormant and then trigger germination in order to understand the ‘big picture’ of seed function. This includes the underlying genetic control of complex phenomena such as seed size, shape and embryo development and the synchronization of these events with the development of fruit.
The innate capacity of seeds to survive in a wide range of conditions is due to the complex interplay of different mechanisms. One of these involves the ability of a seed to repair DNA damage. Studies of the faba bean mutant E2748 have shown that an increase in the activity of a plant DNA ligase reduces the amount of DNA damage in seeds, prolonging their lifespan and potentially increasing the probability that they will germinate and produce seedlings.
The seed is a remarkable structure that distinguishes spermaphytes (including gymnosperms and angiosperms) from bryophytes, lycophytes, and ferns. It comprises an embryo together with a supply of nutrients for the embryo and a protective coat known as the seed coat. The seed is a key evolutionary innovation that enables vascular plants to reproduce without environmental water.
Twenty years ago two scientists chatting in the corridor of a university building debated whether or not they should commit to the new discipline of evolutionary developmental biology (“evo-devo”). They decided that if they did, they would focus on traits that represent key innovations in the plant kingdom and chose seeds as one such trait.
Seeds come in many shapes and sizes, but they are all adapted to dispersal mechanisms. The largest seed, that of the coco de mer tree, is about a foot long and weighs 40 pounds; it floats, making it easy to spread its seeds far and wide.
Seed plants now dominate biological niches worldwide, and their ingenious ways of propagation, distribution, and dispersal offer a new source of beauty. From their bright colors to their fascinating shapes and intriguing textures, seeds reveal a whole world of beauty when examined under magnification.
Whether round or elongated, flattened or tapered, seed forms display a smooth flow of beauty, with different graceful and simple masses and curves that are pleasing to the eye. Surface reliefs, sculptural and geometric, may appear smooth to the unaided eye, but are revealed as textured surfaces with minute characters of surprising kinds when seen under magnification.
Unlock the hidden beauty of seeds with this sumptuous blend of seven soothing, antioxidant rich seed oils (Hemp, Plum, Cucumber, Chia, Blackberry, Tsubaki and Sea Buckthorn) to mix with your favorite moisturizer or apply solo to soothe driest skin. Apply with clean hands morning and evening or as needed to hydrate the driest areas.