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cotyledon(kŏt'əlēd`ən), in botany, a leaf of the embryo of a seedseed,
fertilized and ripened ovule, consisting of the plant embryo, varying amounts of stored food material, and a protective outer seed coat. Seeds are frequently confused with the fruit enclosing them in flowering plants, especially in grains and nuts.
..... Click the link for more information. . The embryos of flowering plants, or angiospermsangiosperm
, term denoting seed plants in which the ovules, or young seeds, are enclosed within the ovary (that part of the pistil specialized for seed production), in contrast to the gymnosperms, in which the seeds are not enclosed within an ovary.
..... Click the link for more information. , usually have either one cotyledon (the monocots) or two (the dicots). Seeds of gymnosperms, such as pines, may have numerous cotyledons. In some seeds the cotyledons are flat and leaflike; in others, such as the bean, the cotyledons store the seed's food reserve for germination and are fleshy. In most plants the cotyledons emerge above the soil with the seedling as it grows. They differ in form from the true leaves.
one of the first leaves of a plant. The cotyledons form in the seed on the not yet differentiated body of the developing embryo. They often differ sharply in shape, internal structure, and, sometimes, function from subsequent leaves that arise on the growing point of the shoot. Gymnospermous plants have two to 15 cotyledons, dicotyledonous plants two cotyledons, and most monocotyledonous plants one cotyledon. When there is aboveground sprouting of dicotyledon seeds (for example, beans), green cotyledons emerge at the soil surface and for some time perform the functions of green leaves. In peas, oak, walnut, and a number of other plants the cotyledons upon sprouting remain in the seed and die after consumption of nutrient reserves. During the sprouting of many monocotyledons, the sheath portion of the cotyledon emerges from the seed, but the apex remains for some time in the endosperm, functioning as an organ of absorption. The same function is performed by the scutellum that remains in the seed of cereal grains; many botanists consider the scutellum to be a cotyledon.