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Seeds and Germination

Nature is beautiful. Take a walk in the park and admire the greenery that is around you. Not only is the greenery a pleasant sight, it also gifts us the air we breathe and the fruits and vegetables we eat. The timber, the paper and the books - are all provided by these mighty trees and plants. In fact, many plants have medicinal uses as well. The benefits of plants are innumerable.

Did you know that the life of a big tree begins inside a tiny capsule? Yes, we call this a seed. And this tiny seed contains a baby plant waiting to grow!


Courtesy: freedigitalimages.net
Different Kinds of Seeds

A seed is basically a protective shell (seed coat) that is home to an embryo (baby plant) and also contains food.

Parts of a Seed:

  1. Seed Coat (tough and protective outer covering)
  2. Embryo (the baby plant with a root and shoot)
  3. Food Store (mostly starch, proteins and oils which are used by the embryo before it becomes old enough to prepare its own food)

parts of a seed include seed coat, food store and embryo

Now that we know that a little seed contains a plant, let us learn how this embryonic plant grows into a full-fledged plant.

Germination:

Germination can be defined as the growth of an embryonic plant contained in a seed.

Conditions for Germination:

All seeds remain inactive until the right conditions are available. Different plants require different variables for successful seed germination. Many times, germination also depends on the plant’s natural habitat.


Courtesy: freedigitalimages.net
Coconut Germination

However, for a seed to grow, it usually needs the following:

Water: Seeds absorb the water and swell up. This causes the seed coat to break open and the seedling to come out.

Oxygen: Oxygen is the most important source of a seedling’s energy till it starts sprouting leaves. Many times a seed gets buried too deeply inside the soil and becomes deprived of oxygen due to which it never germinates. Always remember to till your soil before you plant a seed so that there are ample air spaces, and the embryo inside the seed gets sufficient oxygen to produce energy needed for germination.

Temperature: The right temperature is a critical requirement for seeds to grow. Most seeds have a temperature range within which they grow. When the temperature conditions are not met, they remain dormant or inactive.

  • For example, cherry seeds are kept a little moist at 5°C for 16 weeks before they grow. This constant period of low temperature signals the seeds that winter has probably gone, and that it is the right time for them to start sprouting.

Light: While sunlight is needed by the plants to grow healthy, it does not affect germination of all the seeds. There are seeds which require light, like lettuce, begonia and petunia, and seeds which germinate best in dark, such as, calendula and verbena.

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