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What is a plant seed?
The seed contains the embryo of the new plant, and is a store of food, while protecting it with its shell.
What are plant seeds used for?
The seed is used to feed the embryo. The embryo present in the seed was initially nourished by the mother plant from which the seed comes. Then it will draw from the seed which contains food reserves necessary for its development, sugar, proteins, fats...
But the seed also serves as a refuge for the embryo, protecting it from external aggression thanks to its protective envelope, the integument.
What are the right conditions for germinating a seed?
Some plant seeds are capable of remaining dormant for many years while waiting for external conditions favorable to the development of the future seedling.
They will thus be sensitive to the temperature which must be clement to avoid the freezing of the nascent seedling. The soil must also be able to offer sufficient humidity so that water can infiltrate through the tiny holes in the seed. The seed will then swell and tear its integument so that the embryo can develop its own roots and first leaves, the cotyledons.
The seed of a plant must also be receptive to the presence of oxygen in the soil; the latter must therefore be properly aerated, and be rich in mineral salts to ensure proper development of the young plant.
How do flower and plant seeds disperse?
Seeds may need to travel in order to find the ideal conditions for germination. And they use a lot of imagination to do so!
They can disperse thanks to animals: by clinging in their hairs without their knowledge, or by making themselves attractive in order to be either carried and stored further away in the hope of being forgotten, or consumed and reappear in droppings in new regions!
They also know how to use the elements as a transport vector. The wind, for example, can carry away the seeds of plants thanks to their lightness, their hairs or fins with which some are equipped. Water also, which they know how to take advantage of runoff or marine currents.
Some plants even know how to project their fruits which then burst under the shock to scatter their seeds!
Tree seeds, perennial or annual flower seeds, edible seeds, aromatic seeds, whatever the seed, they are treasures of efficiency and inventiveness for the reproduction of plants!