Outrageous Seeds

The insides of a seed carry the huge variety of genes necessary to make an oak tree or a prickly pear — or a marigold or lettuce. Here are some more extremes that seeds can go to.

  • Giant Seed

    The coconut is a pretty big seed. If you live where the temperature is usually 80 degrees or warmer and doesn't fall below 70 (USDA Zone 10 or south), you can plant a ripe coconut and grow a palm tree.

  • The Biggest Seed

    The biggest seed in the world is the coco-de-mer palm tree, or double coconut. The huge seed can measure up to 3 feet around.

  • Lots and Lots of Seeds

    Speaking of coconuts, plants that produce huge seeds don't make very many of them because it takes a lot of work and resources to make each one. But plants that make tiny seeds can sometimes make a lot of them — like this common weed. One knapweed plant can produce more than 1,000 seeds.

  • The Smallest Seed

    You can't see some seeds without the help of a powerful microscope: The seeds of these orchids are tinier than a single grain of pollen or a speck of dust.

  • Identical Twins

    Like peas in a pod, the seeds of a plant usually look the same, but ...

  • Multicolor Seeds

    Indian corn seeds, or kernels, usually come in many colors, all on the same cob. Like siblings in the same family, they display genetic variations.

  • Long Time to Sprouting Time

    When you plant a bean or a zinnia seed, you can expect to see a little seedling appear in about five or six days. But some plants take a long time to sprout — like holly berries, which contain seeds that need at least a year before they even think of germinating.

  • Made to Fly

    The winged elm tree seed comes with its own little parasail. Here's the skeleton of the \"sail.\"

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