Tuesday, November 5, 2013
Seed is a small embryonic plant enclosed in a covering called the seed coat, usually with some stored food.It is the product of the ripened ovule ofgymnosperm and angiosperm plants which occurs after fertilization and some growth within the mother plant. The formation of the seed completes the process of reproduction in seed plants (started with the development of flowersand pollination), with the embryo developed from the zygote and the seed coat from the integuments of the ovule. All seeds are different size, shape and colour.
Seeds have been an important development in the reproduction and spread offlowering plants, relative to more primitive plants such as mosses, ferns andliverworts, which do not have seeds and use other means to propagate themselves. This can be seen by the success of seed plants (both gymnosperms and angiosperms) in dominating biological niches on land, fromforests to grasslands both in hot and cold climates.
The term "seed" also has a general meaning that antedates the above—anything that can be sown, e.g. "seed" potatoes, "seeds" ofcorn or sunflower "seeds". In the case of sunflower and corn "seeds", what is sown is the seed enclosed in a shell or husk, whereas the potato is a tuber. A typical seed includes three basic parts: (1) an embryo, (2) a supply of nutrients for the embryo, and (3) a seed coat.The embryo is an immature plant from which a new plant will grow under proper conditions. The embryo has one cotyledon or seed leaf in monocotyledons, two cotyledons in almost alldicotyledons and two or more in gymnosperms. The radicle is the embryonic root. The plumule is the embryonic shoot. The embryonic stem above the point of attachment of the cotyledon(s) is the epicotyl. The embryonic stem below the point of attachment is thehypocotyl.
Within the seed, there usually is a store of nutrients for the seedling that will grow from the embryo. The form of the stored nutrition varies depending on the kind of plant. In angiosperms, the stored food begins as a tissue called the endosperm, which is derived from the parent plant via double fertilization. The usually triploid endosperm is rich in oil or starch, and protein. In gymnosperms, such as conifers, the food storage tissue (also called endosperm) is part of the female gametophyte, a haploid tissue. In some species, the embryo is embedded in the endosperm or female gametophyte, which the seedling will use upongermination. In others, the endosperm is absorbed by the embryo as the latter grows within the developing seed, and the cotyledons of the embryo become filled with this stored food. At maturity, seeds of these species have no endosperm and are termed exalbuminous seeds. Some exalbuminous seeds are bean, pea, oak, walnut, squash, sunflower, and radish. Seeds with an endosperm at maturity are termed albuminous seeds. Most monocots (e.g. grasses and palms) and many dicots (e.g. Brazil nut and castor bean) have albuminous seeds. All gymnosperm seeds are albuminous.
The seed coat (the testa) develops from the tissue, the integument, originally surrounding the ovule. The seed coat in the mature seed can be a paper-thin layer (e.g. peanut) or something more substantial (e.g. thick and hard in honey locust and coconut). The seed coat helps protect the embryo from mechanical injury and from drying out.
In addition to the three basic seed parts, some seeds have an appendage on the seed coat such an aril (as in yew and nutmeg) or anelaiosome (as in Corydalis) or hairs (as in cotton). A scar also may remain on the seed coat, called the hilum, where the seed was attached to the ovary wall by the funiculus.