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Orchid seeds. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of seeds from a bird's-nest orchid (Neottia nidus-avis). Due to their small size, the seeds of orchids lack the endosperm (nutrient tissue) necessary for successful germination. Orchids are therefore dependent on a symbiotic relationship with fungi whereby the embryo's germination is initiated by the penetration of fungal hyphae into the seed. The embryo gains nutrients by digesting part of the fungal body and excretions from the fungus. Magnification: x87, when printed 10 centimetres wide.
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