Are Seeds Like Zombies? Life Cycle Of A Plant

Are seeds like zombies? Undead? Think about it. Seeds often come from dead or dying plants, but they can also grow into a new one. They aren’t really dead, they are just waiting to come alive.

We mostly retrieve seeds from a flowering plant that has completed its life cycle. We can also find seeds inside the fruits we eat, like apples, cucumbers, peppers, and tomatoes. Yes! All of these foods are technically fruits. They are fruits because they come from the fertilized ovary of a flowering plant – you can look inside of something you would like to eat and see if there are any seeds. Then you can know for sure if that something is a fruit.

Dragonfruit seeds up close
The seeds of a dragon fruit.

If you find a seed inside, odds are you can plant it in soil, give it the right amount of water, and place it where it has enough sunlight. This is called “creating ideal conditions”. “Creating ideal conditions” means we make a space for the plant to grow and give it everything it needs. If we keep this up long enough, our plants will likely complete their life cycle.

Once a seed has ideal conditions, it will germinate. This means the first root of the plant will emerge from the outer shell of the seed. We can call this the “taproot”. The taproot grows deeper than the other roots and helps the plant stay upright.

A seed growing its first roots.

Once the germinated seed has enough roots, it will grow into a seedling. The seedling will grow leaves that begin photosynthesis. Photosynthesis is like a plant’s way of eating food. The more food it can eat, the bigger it is likely to grow. 

When a seedling grows more leaves, it is on its way to becoming a mature plant. In this stage, the plant grows more and more leaves. Because all of these leaves conduct photosynthesis, the plant is able to use and store its energy. Once it has enough energy, it begins to make flowers.

Bee pollinating a white flower
A bee pollinating a white flower.

These flowers are the plant’s way of attracting pollinators, who will help the flowers exchange pollen between each other. This exchange of pollen allows fruit, like cucumbers, corn, tomatoes, apples, oranges, and more, to grow! 

On some plants, like basil and other herbs, flowers turn immediately into seeds. When the pods are dried out, the seeds are ready to harvest and plant again. The plant that we started with will die, but if we let it, it will make another generation of seeds to grow. 

What do you think? Are seeds dead? Are they alive? Are they something in-between? What kinds of seeds would you grow and save year after year?

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