All About Seeds

Germinating seed, SEM Germinating seed. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of the main stages in the germination of a plant seed. The sequence runs from left to right. The first two images show the emergence of the radicle (white), the embryonic root, from the seed coat (testa, brown). In the third image, the root grows downwards in response to gravity (geotropism), while in the fourth image the embryonic shoot (plumule) grows up against gravity. Its seed leaves (cotyledons, green) will photosynthesise using sunlight. The root 'hairs' will help obtain water and nutrients. This is a swede (Brassica napus) seedling.
Photo by Science Photo Library on Britannica ImageQuest

Did you know that there are about 250,000 kinds of plants that produce seeds? The seeds that plants produce vary greatly in size—from less than 1 ounce up to 50 pounds! However, it is not possible to tell from the size of the seed how big a plant will be.

Some plants produce lots of seeds like in the million e.g. an orchid, while other plants only produce a few e.g. a coconut.

Seeds consist of three parts: (1) the embryo, (2) the food storage tissue, and (3) the seed coat. To learn more about how seeds develop, spread, and sprout, check out World Book Online.

You will also find helpful photos and illustrations that accompany the seed article.  If you want to do a science project on seeds, check out the Kids portion of World Book. You can select the “Science Project” link and then select the category “Plants.” You’ll see three projects offered around seeds.

  • What happens to seedlings in the dark?
  • Why do seeds need to germinate?
  • See-through seeds

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