Word of the Day: Cotyledon
I visited Annie’s Annuals last weekend and was reminded of another one of my favorite botanical words: Cotyledon. If you’ve ever grown a plant from seed, you may have noticed that the first leaf or two to unfurl looked different than the ones that followed. That’s because the first leaf or two is part of the embryonic seed itself. Think of them as linebackers, clearing a path for the plant that follows.
Here’s a photo from Annie’s of a Geranium maderense seedling. Note the two cotyledon leaves, followed by the first “true” leaf.
Bonus word fun: You may have heard some plants referred to as monocots or dicots. These terms come from our friend the cotyledon. Monocotyledonous plants (aka “monocots”) are plants that emerge from seed with just one leaf. Dicotyledonous plants (aka “dicots”) are plants that emerge with two. I literally slapped myself in the forehead when I figured that one out.