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Physiological anatomy of agricultural seed and fruits

, : Physiological anatomy of agricultural seed and fruits. Fortschr Landw 1(22): 697-703

The developing seed is enclosed within "semi-permeable" or completely impermeable cutinized or suberized membranes. In the ovule the beginnings of such membranes are present in the cuticles of outer and inner integuments and in a cutinized layer between the surface of the nucellus and the inner integument; the latter layer, termed the inner cuticle, is usually of great physiological importance subsequently. After fertilization the micropyle is usually closed (by the free walls around the pore closing upon one another), while during maturation the nucellus at the chalazal end is closed by a deposit of cork or by a suberization of the cells of the nucellus and the funicle in this region. The developing embryo may still be nourished for a time through the walls of the integument, but the development of the "inner cuticle" cuts it off finally from all supplies. When mature, this inner cuticle is often resistant even to a mixture of chromic and sulphuric acids. The development of protective mechanisms of this type are followed in the Gramineae and a number of dicotyledon families, especially the Cruciferae and the Solanaceae. The mucilaginous seed coat of Sinapis, etc., can hardly be an adaptation to supply the embryo with water, as this layer is separated from the rest of the seed by a layer of cork.


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