Seed Facts



  • Seeds are the tiny hard capsules from which most new plants grow.
  • Seeds develop from the plant’s egg once it is fertilized by pollen.
  • Each seed contains the new plant in embryo form plus a store of food to feed it until it grows leaves.
  • The seed is wrapped in a hard shell known as a testa.
  • Some fruit contain many seeds; nuts are fruit with a single seed in which the outside has gone hard.
  • Neither Brazil nuts nor coconuts are true nuts. Coconuts (right) are the stones of drupes, while Brazil nuts (left) are just large seeds.
  • Acorns and hazelnuts are true nuts.
  • Cola drinks get their name from the African kola nut, but there are no nuts in them. The flavor is artificial.
  • Some nuts, such as almonds and walnuts, are not true nuts but the hard stones of drupes (fruit like plums).
  • Brazil nuts and shelled peanuts are not true nuts but just large seeds.
  • Nuts are a concentrated, nutritious food — about 50% fat and 10-20% protein. Peanuts contain more food energy than sugar and more protein, minerals and vitamins than liver.
  • After maturing, seeds go into a state called dormancy. While they are dormant the seeds are scattered and dispersed.
  • Some scattered seeds fall on barren ground and never grow into plants. Only those seeds that fall in suitable places will begin to grow.
  • Some seeds are light enough to be blown by the wind. The feathery seed cases of some grasses are so light they can be blown several kilometers.
  • Milkweeds have large seed pods which burst open to release their seeds. Seed dispersal
  • Sycamore seeds have wings to help them spin away on the wind.
  • Dandelion seeds have feathery tufts that act like parachutes, whirling them away through the air as they drop to the ground. How plants live
  • Many seeds and fruits have wings to help them whirl through the air. Maple fruits have wings. So too do the seeds of ashes, elms and sycamores.
  • Seeds like dandelions, cottonwoods and willows have fluffy coverings, so they drift easily on the wind.
  • Some seeds are carried by water. Coconut seeds can float on the sea for thousands of kilometers.
  • Many fruits and seeds are dispersed by animals.
  • Some fruits are eaten by birds and other animals. The seeds are not digested but passed out in the animal’s body waste.
  • Some seeds stick to animal fur. They have burrs or tiny barbs that hook on to the fur, or even a sticky coating.
  • Some fruits, like geraniums and lupins, simply explode, showering seeds in all directions.
  • Sycamore trees grow from their tiny winged seeds (left). Mushrooms (below right) grow from spores.
  • Seed plants are plants that grow from seeds of varying size and shape.
  • Seeds have a tiny baby plant inside called an embryo from which the plant grows plus a supply of stored food and a protective coating.
  • Spores contain special cells which grow into new organisms. Green plants like ferns and mosses and fungi such as mushrooms all produce spores.
  • All 250,000 flowering plants produce ‘enclosed’ seeds. These are seeds that grow inside sacs called ovaries, which turn into a fruit around the seed.
  • The 800 or so conifers, cycads and gingkos produce ‘naked’ seeds, which means there is no fruit around them.
  • Seeds only develop when a plant is fertilized by pollen.
  • The largest seeds are those of the double coconut or coco-de-mer of the Seychelles, which can sometimes weigh up to 20 kg.
  • 30,000 orchid seeds weigh barely 1 gm.
  • The world’s biggest tree, the giant redwood, grows I rum tiny seeds that are less than 2 mm long.
  • Coconut trees produce only a few big seeds; orchids produce millions, but only a few grow into plants.