Last updated: June 15, 2021

What Does Cotyledon Mean?

The cotyledon is the embryo within a plant’s seed. Once the seed germinates, the cotyledon becomes the seedling’s first leaves.

The cotyledon serves a valuable purpose for the young seedling because it stores essential nutrients that help the seedling survive and grow.


Maximum Yield Explains Cotyledon

The cotyledon is the first part of a seed to emerge from the soil. The leaf-like cotyledons usually last only a couple of days before mature leaves take over. However, on some plants, the cotyledons can last for years before falling from the plant.

Botanists use the cotyledon within a seed to classify plants. Plants with one cotyledon are referred to as monocotyledonous or monocots. Botanists place one cotyledon plants into the Class Liliopsida. Plants that feature two cotyledons are classified as dicotyledonous or dicots and botanists place them in the Class Magnoliopsida.

Marcello Malpighi was the first scientist to call the embryo within a seed the cotyledon in the 1600s. The botanist John Ray further discovered that many plants have one or more cotyledons.


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