Seeds, fruits both are exclusive sexual reproductive characteristics in angiosperms. Fruits and seeds are not only essential in the life cycle of angiosperms; they are also utilized as sources of food. Let us take an overview of seed, fruit formation, and their significance.
Seed is a reproducing unit of a flowering plant. A seed consists of three parts. These are as follows:
- Seed coat – Seed is enclosed in a protective layer which is called a seed coat.
- Embryo – It is a young miniature structure of the plant.
- Cotyledon – It is used to store the starchy food and proteins for the embryo.
Immature seeds are proliferated into mature seeds by the process of embryogenesis. Two types of mature seeds are commonly produced. These are as follows:
- Non-albuminous – These seeds do not contain residual endosperm to store the food. Example: pea, groundnut.
- Albuminous – These seeds consist of endosperm to store the food. Example: wheat, maize.
In seed coat, micropyle is present as a small pore. It improves the movement of oxygen and water into the seed. After germination, the seed gets dried and its water content is evaporated. As a result, the metabolic activity of the embryo may enter into an inactive state. This state of inactivity of the embryo is known as dormancy. Seed germination is attained when favorable conditions like optimum temperature, adequate oxygen, and moisture prevail.
Fruits are a good source of nutrients like vitamins and minerals. In angiosperms, the ovary develops into a fruit. The outer layer of the fruit is developed from the ovary wall. It is called as pericarp. As a result, some fruits may be fleshy like orange, mango, etc. and some fruits may be dry like groundnut, mustard, etc.
A fruit which is formed from the thalamus is called as false fruit (example: apple, strawberry) and only a fruit which develops from the ovary is called as a true fruit (example: orange). In a few species, fruits develop without fertilization. These fruits are called as parthenocarpy fruits, example: banana.
Significance of Seeds and Fruits
The seed and fruit of a plant offer many advantages. These are as follows:
Advantages of Seed
- Seed plants do not require water for pollination and fertilization. Hence seed formation is more dependable.
- Seeds have adaptive characteristics of the new environment, which is beneficial for seed dispersal and colonization
- Seeds can carry a number of variations through sexual reproduction.
- They can be stored for future use.
- They can reserve food for nourishing the young plant.
Advantages of Fruit
- Fruits protect the seeds from improper climate conditions and insects.
- Seed dispersal can be done by fruits.
- Fruits provide food to animals.
- Fruits are a good nutrient source for humans.
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