The seeds of a plant are like the babies of humans or animals. Your parents made them. They grow, get big, and can form seeds again themselves. This is called reproduction. This also allows the plants to multiply and spread further. In addition, seeds are an important food for humans and animals.
Seeds form when male pollen gets on the female stigma of a flower. Inside the flower, a pollen grain unites with the female egg cell. This is how a seed begins to grow.
What does a seed contain?
A seed contains three important parts. The most important part is the seedling. Small roots and a stalk growing out of it in the ground. This process is called “germination”. The germ of the peanut is clearly visible. He sits at one end of the nut. You can easily pull it out with your fingernail.
The second part is the endosperm. It stores the nutrient for the seedling. It is similar to the yolk and the albumen in bird eggs.
The third part is the seed coat. It protects the endosperm and the germ against fungi and small creatures. Husks lie around the seed coat. These are petals that further protect the seed.
What is a seed for?
The seeds are primarily used for reproduction. Many plants only live for a year. Trees sometimes live for several hundred years, but even then they die. They can only survive by reproducing, i.e. forming seeds.
In order to spread as well as possible, the plants have various tricks up their sleeve: the seeds of the maple trees have wings with which they can move a little away from the mother tree. The wind helps them. Other plants form large seeds called nuts. They are interesting for squirrels, for example. They carry away the nuts and bury them. What they forget in winter can germinate and grow.
Still, other plants grow a lot of pulp around the seeds. A good example of this is the cherry. If a bird swallows a cherry, it will excrete the pit somewhere else in the droppings. The kernels are the seeds of the cherry tree and so a cherry tree can spread over long distances.
What do seeds mean to humans?
Seeds are very important to humans. Much of our food is seeds: All grains such as wheat, rice, rye, and many others are actually seeds. Seeds, such as corn, are also used as animal feed. As a result, the animals produce more milk and meat, and the hens lay more eggs.
All of our cereals come from sweet grasses. As early as the Stone Age, people discovered that these seeds could be eaten. They then started growing the seeds: each year they set aside the largest seeds and sowed them again the next year. It’s called “breeding”. This is how varieties with more and bigger grains came about, as we know them today.
Most fruits and vegetables are also seed plants. When it comes to fruit, we prefer to eat the pulp, for example, apples. With the peas, we only eat the seeds themselves. If we eat a lot of beans, we eat the shell. Although carrots are not fruits but roots, they only grow because they form seeds that can be sown.