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In the Spring: Germination

A seed can remain dormant for days, weeks, months, and sometimes years depending on what type of plant it is from. That is one reason it is so well adapted for plant dispersal. When it begins to "wake up" and starts to grow into a plant, it is said to germinate. To survive winter and germinate in the spring, a seed needs to remain dormant for a few months. As the table below shows, some plant seeds can even survive longer.


Maximum Age of Seeds in Years

Dandelion 6
Plantain 10
Red clover 100
Mimosa 221
Arctic Lupin 10000

When the time is right, the seed will become active and grow a shoot from its plumule and the beginning of a root from its radicle. This process is called germination. The hyperlinks below link with pages on germination.

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Seed Germination I
Seed Germination II

When does the seed "decide" to start growing into a plant? What environmental factors cause the seed to begin to germinate? The experiments on seed structure and germination will provide answers to these questions.



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