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Facts about seeds

  • The largest seed in the world is the double coconut. It can measure up to 50cm (1.6ft) around the middle! Coconuts have a fibrous coating and an air space inside them, because they need to be able to float to a new home. Some coconuts have floated 2,000km over the sea before they find dry land!
  • Seeds provide the world’s daily food. Your breakfast cereal and toast, your pasta or pizza lunch and your rice dish for tea all started life as seeds from different grasses. Read more about cereals in our Did you know? article.
  • Some orchid seed-pods hold 3 million seeds
  • The baby plant inside the seed is called the embryo.
  • Insects or other animals that transfer pollen from plant to plant are called “pollinators.”
  • Some seeds need light to germinate. Others need darkness.
  • Kapok is soft, fluffy stuff that comes from a seed-case. Years ago it was used to fill life jackets, because it is light, strong and waterproof. Nowadays, modern plastics have replaced it.
  • Some seeds found in frozen soil in Canada were grown and produced flowers – the seeds were thought to be more than 10,000 years old!
  • There are some very dangerous seeds, such as those that come from deadly nightshade; two berries could kill you. Even more dangerous are the seeds from the Castor-oil plant – one bean will kill an adult.
  • Most oak trees don’t grow acorns until they are at least 50 years old. If you have planted an acorn, how old will you be before you can plant its acorns?Some plants, like ferns, don’t produce seeds. They make spores. Look under the leaves and you’ll see rows of tiny round spores. These drop off the plant and eventually make new plants.
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