Life Cycle

Definition - What does Life Cycle mean?

The life cycle of a plant is the period of time it takes from germination of the seed to the production of seed or completion of reproduction of that plant.

The life cycle of a plant varies greatly, depending on whether it is an annual or a perennial, for example.

MaximumYield explains Life Cycle

Annual plants grown from seed complete their entire life cycle in a single growing season of several months. They germinate and complete their ultimate goal of reproducing offspring rapidly and then die, thus the completion of their life cycle.

Perennials on the other hand are plants that reproduce and live for multiple years, producing in some cases millions of seeds and offspring.

The life cycle of a plant cannot be determined merely by visible means. Tuberous plants like daffodils or tulips outwardly appear dead after the foliage dies back, but the tuber or bulb is still actively gaining nutrients and strength out of view, below the soil.

Some plants use cloning to reproduce; a branch or leaf may touch the ground and germinate, producing an identical genetic copy of the plant. In those cases, it is questionable as to what the actual life cycle of the plant may be, because genetically the offspring is exactly the same plant as the parent.

The life cycle of single-celled plants over the more complex multi-celled plants is difficult to determine. Just because a single-celled plant is far simpler than a multi-celled plant, it doesn’t mean it completes its life cycle and reproduction in a shorter period of time.

Single-celled plants that are bacterial in nature can live for hundreds, thousands, or even millions of years. Unlike more complex plants, a single-celled plant has the ability to lie in a dormant state until environmental conditions allow it to “reawaken” and complete its life cycle even many years later.

This definition was written in the context of Plants
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