Lily Embryo, Specimen 3

A plant embryo is actually an immature plant that is surrounded by stored nutritive materials that are enveloped in a protective seed coat. The embryo typically consists of embryonic roots referred to as radicles, an embryonic stem, the hypocotyl, and leaf like structures, or cotyledons. Lilies are classified as monocots because they produce only a single cotyledon. This embryonic leaf absorbs nutrients from the seed package until the embryo germinates and develops into a seedling, which is able to produce true leaves that generate food through the process of photosynthesis. All seeds encase plant embryos, which remain dormant until activated by water and climate conditions that entice germination.

A higher magnification image sequence captured with a 60x oil-immersion objective.

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