In order to provide the best care to our gardens, it can be really helpful to learn about the plants we are growing, and how they grow.The best place to learn anything, is from the beginning… so this marks part two of ‘Garden Botany 101’ series. You can read all about plants cells and structure in part 1 How Does Your Garden Grow – Cells and Tissues
Follow along with us as we learn about what makes a plant a plant, how all of the parts work, how they benefit us, and what we can do to grow healthy and happy plants in our gardens, and homes.
In numerous engineering offices I have seen variations of a poster that reads ‘if it can not be grown, it has to be mined’ I love this concept, as it pretty much sums up our entire existence.
When we think growing – be it flowers, fruit, vegetables, trees, shrubs, whatever – we may think of all the lush, colourful, healthy and environmentally friendly fruits of our labour. Let’s stop for a moment, and investigate how it all came to be.
The Thing About Seeds
Generally speaking, there are two types of seeds : Angiosperms (flowering plants) and Gymnosperms (cone bearing plants).
There are three main parts to a seed,
- seed coat
The seed coat is the protective coating or covering. This needs to break open in order for the plant to emerge.
The endosperm refers to the initial food source. This is where the embryo gets what it needs to bring it out of the arrested state of development, and begin growing.
And of course, the embryo itself is the miniature plant, and we’ll take a look at that in a moment.
Basic Anatomy of a Seed
The Arrested State of Development
So about that embryo. The embryo remains in an arrested state of development, until a little thing called germination happens. All seeds have a built in system to resist or delay germination until ideal conditions are present to allow for the most successful growth. This is perhaps some of the coolest science around, and deserves an article all of its own- so we will save this topic for a later date.
The embryo itself has three main parts,
The cotyledons are the seed leaves, and an additional food source. They allow photosynthesis (this too deserves its own article) to occur before the true leaves emerge.
The plumule is what will develop into the shoot – that being the stem and the true leaves.
And lastly, the radicle is what will form the roots.
Basic Seed Embryo Anatomy
If you’re just joining us for our Garden Botany Series – be sure to check out Part 1 : Garden Botany 101 – Cells and Tissues
and sign up for our newsletter, so you’re sure to not miss our next installment, which will be all about the Organs of a Plant