When we are going to grow or sow a plant we usually start by introducing its seed under the ground and water. From the seed grows a plant that will later produce its fruits. We know that the seed is the basis of plant life and that thanks to it it can be distributed and grown.
However, Do we know what a seed really is and how it works?
The seed is the main reproductive organ of the vast majority of higher terrestrial and aquatic plants. Its role as a preservative of the species is fundamental, since they are able to withstand very extreme external conditions without dying, and even germinate later. Seeds are essential for the dispersal of plants, the regeneration of forests and, in general, for the ecological succession of any ecosystem.
In nature, the seed serves as food for many species of animals. We can say that the seed is something fundamental also for the human being, if we speak in agricultural terms, since without the seeds we could not grow anything and agriculture would not exist. What’s more, the main food of the human being is constituted directly or indirectly by seeds.
On the other hand, the seeds are used to manage the wild populations in the forests, to do reforestations, they also serve to conserve a certain endangered species by conserving the plant germplasm because they can be kept alive for long periods of time. This helps us preserve the species and varieties of plants that are most valuable to humans or some ecosystems.
Thanks to the fact that science has studied seeds for a long time, it is possible to have great knowledge about the biology of many plants. In order to know more about the conservation of certain species of flora and vegetation, the physiological characteristics of the seeds, the dormancy and germination mechanisms, the environmental conditions they need, their longevity and their different uses for plant propagation and the conservation of plants.
What is the origin of the seed?
We know that the seed is the main reproductive unit of plants. In addition, it is very complex since it is formed from the plant ovum after fertilization and has quite complex survival mechanisms. The seeds they are found in both angiosperms and gymnosperms. Although gymnosperms do not have a true flower, the structure of the seeds of these plants is very similar to those of those that do have flowers.
The size of the seeds of different plant species can vary dramatically. There are seeds of multiple sizes and shapes despite the fact that it is an organ with a common origin in all species and that fulfills the same function.
In terms of weight, there are very small seeds like those of orchids that weigh 0,1mg and other huge ones like those of the double Pacific coconut that weigh 10Kg. Within the same plant community the differences between the sizes are usually smaller, however, they are capable of varying up to six orders of magnitude.
In order to produce seeds, plants require a large amount of energy, so depending on the state of the plant, it can produce a greater or lesser number of seeds and these will be more or less large. Plants that produce smaller seeds are able to spread more widely and have a better chance of being able to find a place with more favorable environmental conditions to germinate and grow. Nevertheless, the seeds so small do not help in their growth, so the new seedling will have to draw on the resources around it as soon as possible. This entails having a fairly high risk of dying compared to those larger seeds. They also have less resistance to the effects of herbivore defoliation and can be easily crushed by leaf litter that falls to the ground. Although this is somewhat offset by the large numbers, only a small fraction survive all of these accidents.
With this you will be able to know something more about the seeds and the importance they have.