Cotyledon Explained

Cotyledon Explained

The etymology of cotyledon leads us to a Greek word that refers to something that is cup -shaped. Said term came to Latin as cotylēdon.

That Latin word we have to state that since the first century it was used to refer to a plant called the navel of Venus. Specifically, we would have to wait until the eighteenth century, specifically until the year 1751, for Linnaeus to give it the meaning with which we use and understand it today.

In the field of botany, the first leaf that emerges in the embryo of a phanerogam plant is called cotyledon. These plants are those that have visible reproductive organs in the flower, where fertilization takes place and the development of the seeds that house the embryos of the new specimens takes place.

According to, the first leaves of these embryos are called cotyledons. In seedlings (name of the plants as soon as they sprout from the seed), the cotyledons can be differentiated from the rest of the leaves by their size. On the other hand, the cotyledons have characteristics that the secondary leaves do not have, such as the ability to develop the digestion of the albumen (the tissue that is around the embryo and that is used as food after germination) or the fact of having different nutrients.

In addition to all of the above, we cannot ignore the fact that, depending on where these cotyledons appear, plants are classified into two different types:
-Hypogeas are those in which the aforementioned cotyledons appear underground.
-The epigeous plants are those that are characterized because they are born outside of what is the earth.

Of course, regardless of whether they go outside or inside the earth, the cotyledons continue to have the same function. And it is none other than to feed the seedling.

Plants that have seeds with a single cotyledon are known as monocots. Corn, wheat, orchid and bamboo are some of the monocotyledonous plants. In this group we can also include orchids or palm trees.

Dicots, on the other hand, have two cotyledons. The magnolia, the avocado, the cinnamon and the rose are part of the group of dicotyledonous plants.

It is important to keep in mind that the cotyledons have a limited life: when the plant has already managed to develop the leaves that allow it to obtain energy, they end up falling.

In the same way, we can highlight other relevant aspects about the cotyledons such as the following:
-Their development takes place during what is known as embryogenesis, which is made up of two phases: in the first, mitosis occurs, which is that is, the increase in the number of cells and in the second what is called cell expansion.
-Among the nutrients that the cotyledons possess and that make them differentiate from other leaves of a plant are both starch and oil.