A seed is a small embryonic plant enclosed in a covering called the seed coat, usually with some stored food. It is the product of the ripened ovule of gymnosperm and angiosperm plants which occurs after fertilization and some growth within the mother plant. The formation of the seed completes the process of reproduction in seed plants (started with the development of flowers and pollination), with the embryo developed from the zygote and the seed coat from the integuments of the ovule. All seeds are different size, shape and colour.
Seeds have been an important development in the reproduction and spread of flowering plants, relative to more primitive plants such as mosses, ferns and liverworts, which do not have seeds and use other means to propagate themselves. This can be seen by the success of seed plants (both gymnosperms and angiosperms) in dominating biological niches on land, from forests to grasslands both in hot and cold climates.
The term "seed" also has a general meaning that antedates the above — anything that can be sown, e.g. "seed" potatoes, "seeds" of corn or sunflower "seeds". In the case of sunflower and corn "seeds", what is sown is the seed enclosed in a shell or husk, whereas the potato is a tuber.
Famous quotes containing the word seed:
“A candle in the thighs
Warms youth and seed and burns the seeds of age;”
—Dylan Thomas (19141953)
“Though I do not believe that a plant will spring up where no seed has been, I have great faith in a seed,a, to me, equally mysterious origin for it.”
—Henry David Thoreau (18171862)
“The hearts of small children are delicate organs. A cruel beginning in this world can twist them into curious shapes. The heart of a hurt child can shrink so that forever afterward it is hard and pitted as the seed of a peach. Or, again, the heart of such a child may fester and swell until it is misery to carry within the body, easily chafed and hurt by the most ordinary things.”
—Carson McCullers (19171967)