July 27, 2012

Germination: cotyledons and true leaves

Last time I wrote about the radicle end of germination.  These posts certainly make you think back to beginning biology class!  After the radicle appears from the seed and goes down, the hypocotyl goes up.  Embryonic leaves, called cotyledons, appear and start to photosynthesize.  Of course, grasses are different, but I'm not growing any grains so it doesn't matter.  

Cotyledons aren't true leaves, and often they are shaped differently than the true leaves.  Brassica cotyledons are heart shaped.  Spinach's are long and skinny.  They can get very big on some greens, namely tokyo bekana, but I never measure their leaf length, or included them in the harvest weight.  They can be used as microgreens though.

Spinach cotyledons.

True leaves appear shortly after.  They are cute, tender and grow pretty quickly (unless it's really winter).  Can you identify the variety below?

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