Seeds are the reproductive structure of most flowering plants. They contain an embryo or miniature undeveloped plant and food reserves, surrounded by a protective coat.
When conditions are right, seeds “wake up” and start growing into a seedling. As it breaks through the outer seed coat, the radicle and plumule emerge to begin absorbing underground water.
They are the reproductive structure of a plant
Seeds are a distinctive feature of plants that reproduce by alternation of generations. Like any other part of a plant, seeds contain genetic information that has the potential to grow into a new plant. The new plant cannot be a clone of its parents, but it will have genes from both.
The seeds of flowering plants (angiosperms) and gymnosperms consist of a miniature undeveloped plant embryo with stored food and a package of nutritive tissue called the seed coat. The embryo is diploid and develops from the zygote formed by the union of egg and sperm, while the seed coat is a container of tissue that is derived from an earlier sporophyte generation.
Seeds come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. Some of the most common are bean-shaped (reniform), discoid, lenticular, ellipsoid, or globose. They may also be ovoid, spherical, or triangular. Some have ridges or stripes, and others are striped with parallel lines or a crustaceous appearance.
They are an important source of food
Seeds are a rich source of complex carbohydrates, fats, protein, vitamins and minerals. They also contain plant sterols, which lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease. While often overlooked for their much more glamorous cousins, nuts, seeds are an important part of everyone’s diet.
The majority of human calories come from seeds, especially those of cereals, legumes and nuts. In addition, seeds provide most cooking oils, many beverages and spices. They are also an important source of energy.
While seeds vary in their nutrient content, most contain high levels of antioxidants and phytochemicals. They are also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which support brain and heart health. Most seeds are also a healthy choice for people with food allergies. They can be a nutritious alternative to nuts for omnivores and low-FODMAP dieters alike. They are also a good source of protein for vegans and vegetarians. Most seeds can be stored for a year in an airtight container.
They are used in plant breeding
Seeds are used in plant breeding to produce new varieties of plants with desirable characteristics. They are also an important source of food for humans and animals, and they play a vital role in dispersal and habitat maintenance. In addition, they can be used for landscaping and in the production of fertilizers. Many seeds are crossbred to create hybrids, which have characteristics from two different parent plants. These seeds are more uniform and higher-yielding than open-pollinated seeds.
A seed is a mature ovule that contains a miniature undeveloped plant, food reserves and a protective coat or husk. Its function is to store genetic information, which will grow into a new plant under the right conditions. Seeds contain DNA from both the male and female parent plants.
The germination process can be influenced by various factors, including environmental conditions and seed viability. Seeds with a fully functional embryo are considered viable, and can germinate in a variety of environmental conditions. Seeds that have not fully matured can be induced to germinate through moist stratification, which is the addition of cool temperatures after the seed’s physiological dormancy has ended.
They are important for dispersal
Seed dispersal is an important part of plant population dynamics and can contribute to the range expansion of a species. However, the distance a seed travels depends on several environmental factors. Seeds can be dispersed long distances by wind, water, or animals. Some seeds have specialized adaptations to increase their survival after dispersal. For example, dandelions have feathery pappus attached to their seeds that can be carried by the breeze. In addition, maples have winged fruits that flutter to the ground. Seeds of some plants can survive up to 22 h in the digestive tracts of birds of prey, increasing their dispersal distance.
Although animal-dispersed seeds can be transported over long distances, they may not germinate far away from their parent plants. This is because a large portion of seeds may be ingested by predators and pathogens, which reduce their fitness. To minimize the loss of seeds, many plants produce fruits that are encased in fleshy pulp to attract animals (endozoochory). These characteristics can have positive or negative effects on seed dispersal.