What is Seed Germination?

What is Seed Germination?

Everything in the universe begins with something, even the universe itself is believed to be born out of a cosmic egg. And just like that, the life of a plant starts from a seed.


A seed has three major parts, a seed coat, which is the outer layer that protects the plants while they grow and develop in the mud. And inside the seed, there is a baby plant called an embryo, and the rest of it is cotyledons that contains food for the baby plant.

Having a seed isn’t enough for planting tree, you need to have a proper condition for it. First of all, we need to check the layer of moisture and temperature, the right amount of sunlight, and the quality of the soil.

It’s necessary to understand that the plants can’t grow in any given condition as they are adapted to a specific environment. For example, a tree that lives in the desert probably wouldn’t last in the rainforest and a tall tree can’t survive in grasslands due to the process of adaptation.

And once we are happy with the surrounding environment, we are ready to sow the seeds inside the ground. And this is where the magical and fundamental process of germination starts by which different plant species grow from a single seed into a plant.

First, the seeds consume water rapidly from the soil, resulting in swelling and softening of the seed coat at a suitable temperature in the process called an Imbibition. But water isn’t enough to make the baby embryo grow, it also needs food. And fortunately, the food is already present in the cotyledons that activates the enzymes and the baby plants gets nourishment.

After sometime, the seed coat raptures, and we see a tiny root emerging out of it. Later the root grows and pushes down deeper into the soil in search of more water and nutrients to feed the baby plant     and takes hold of the soil that will help the plant from falling over due to external forces. And in the last stage of seed germination, the seed’s cells become metabolically active, elongate, as the coat splits from the opposite end to give rise to the seedling.

Finally, we see the growing plant rising through the seed coat and emerging above the ground, searching for sunlight.  When this happens, the cotyledon has finished its job. And because their job is done, they fall off the plant and become the part of the soil. Once the cotyledon is gone, the plant’s tiny leaves take over the task of supplying food to the new plant with the help of photosynthesis. And this whole process of a single seed growing into a plant is called germination.

Did you know, a Russian team discovered some seeds of Silene Stenophylla, a flowering plant native to Siberia that has been buried by an Ice age squirrel? The radiocarbon dating confirmed that the seeds were 32,000 years old. Also the seeds of proteas from South Africa germinate after they have been exposed to smoke. This is actually a survival tactic for plants that grow in fire prone zones. Isn’t amazing?

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