Excerpt from The Contributor, Vol. 1: April, 1880
IF we remove the covering from a pea, acorn or bean, we will be able to sepa rate it into two parts; but these are united at one point, and in the case of the bean, which affords a good illustration, we will find on the edge where the eye is located, or where its little stalk was sepa rated from it, a little rootlet; and on this, what seems to be a small stem with very minute leaves. These parts can be very readily seen when the seed just begins to sprout in early spring, although they are plain en'ough before, in the examples given above.
The question may now be asked: What are those halves of the seed attached to the rootlet with the semblance of a little stem between them? They are the first pair of leaves of the plantlet, and some times, as in the squash, they rise above the ground after planting, turn green, and become the first pair of leaves of the little plant. But they are different in shape from the other leaves, and much thicker, and this is because they have been crammed with starch and other matter needed by the plant, to give it a start when it begins to grow, until it is able to take care of itself.
When the seed is put in the ground, the temperature must be considerably above the freezing point, otherwise no proper change can take place in the seed, whereby nourishment is produced for the plant just about to begin to grow. The seed must also be put in soil loose enough to allow the access of air, as its oxygen is necessary to produce the chemical changes. And lastly it must have water.
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