Germinating sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus) seed

Germinating sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus) seed

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Credit: DR JEREMY BURGESS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Germinating sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus) seed (centre). Seedling about to emerge from its split seed coat. The green folded tissues inside the seed are the cotyledons of the embryo; the pale filament to the bottom of the picture is the hypocotyl, a stem that terminates in the root (not visible here). In the background is a second seedling, and above, part of a wing from a third seed. Sycamore seeds are winged achenes (single-seeded fruits) known as samaras. Usually produced in pairs, they can be carried considerable distances on the wind when shed. Sycamore is native to central and eastern Europe and west Asia. It was probably introduced into UK in the 16th century as a timber tree. As a prolific seed producer it is now the most widespread and common neophyte tree in Britain, often regarded as a pest species in the wider environment.

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Keywords: acer pseudoplatanus, achene, dispersal, embryo, hypocotyl, neophyte, pest species, samara, seed, seed dispersal, seed germination, sycamore, tree, wind

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