Martínez-Andújar, Cristina Department of Horticulture, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon.
Nonogaki, Hiro Department of Horticulture, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon.
Last reviewed:May 2020
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The emergence of a new plant from a seed. Seed germination is the beginning or the process of development of a seed (a fertilized ovule containing an embryo, which forms a new plant upon germination). Hydration of a seed, which is called imbibition (imbibere in Latin means to drink), is an essential step for seed germination. The embryo, a future plant, emerges from a seed through the covering tissues, including the testa (seed coat) and the endosperm (nutritive tissue) [Fig. 1]. Seed biologists consider germination as the physiological events occurring in imbibed seeds, which are completed by the emergence of the embryo, usually a radicle (embryonic root) first. This is called sensu stricto germination, that is, germination in a strict sense. Following this definition, elongation of emerged roots and seedling development are referred to as postgermination events. In a practical sense (for example, in agronomy), the emergence of seedlings from soil is sometimes called germination. See also: Agronomy; Embryogenesis; Embryology; Plant development; Plant growth; Plant organs; Plant physiology; Seed
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