The key difference between germination and emergence is that seed germination is the development of the seeds into new plants while emergence is the appearance of a seedling through the soil.
Seeds are fertilized ovules of seed plants. They are dormant structures and have reserved foods. The seed coat protects the seed from harsh environmental conditions. In angiosperms, we can see seeds inside the fruits while in gymnosperms, we can see naked seeds. When seeds arrive at a new location, they germinate and develop into new plants under favourable conditions. We call this process seed germination. A seedling that emerges from a seed can mature into a new plant. Therefore, seed germination and seedling emergence are two important processes occurring in plants.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is Germination
3. What is Emergence
4. Similarities Between Germination and Emergence
5. Side by Side Comparison – Germination vs Emergence in Tabular Form
What is Germination?
Germination is the process of developing seeds into new plants. Generally, seeds are dormant structures. When the environmental conditions trigger, seeds start to grow and develop into new plants. First, seeds absorb water by imbibitions in order to activate hydrolytic enzymes. Thus, water availability is a crucial factor for seed germination. Furthermore, temperature, oxygen, sunlight, etc. also affect seed germination.
The activated enzymes break the reserved food of the seed and allow seed growth. A root comes out first from the seed and grows towards the soil, searching for water. Next, a shoot emerges and grows towards the above ground, exploring sunlight. Similarly, a new plant develops from a seed and then with time, the seedling matures and becomes a tree.
What is Emergence?
Seedling emergence takes place when the active growth of embryo occurs during seed germination. First, the primary root emerges from the radicle and grows downward the soil. It starts absorbing water and anchoring the seedling to the soil. Then the shoot emerges from the plumule. The growth of the plumule shows a negative geotropic movement. It actually grows towards the soil surface.
The emergence of the shoot and root take place due to cell division and cell expansion. Afterwards, organ formation takes place. Until the leaves form and initiate photosynthesis, the seedling utilizes the food stored in the embryo.
What are the Similarities Between Germination and Emergence?
- Germination and emergence are two processes related to seeds.
- Emergence takes place during seed germination.
- They are very important processes occurring in seed plants.
- Furthermore, they are two vulnerable phases of a plant growth cycle.
What is the Difference Between Germination and Emergence?
Germination and emergence are two important processes in plant propagation via seeds. Seed germination is the growth of a seed into a new plant while seedling emergence is the growth of the plumule towards the soil surface and coming out from the soil, making a shoot. Thus, this is the key difference between germination and emergence.
Summary – Germination vs Emergence
Seeds start to grow when the environmental conditions are triggered. They develop into new plants, breaking the dormancy. This is the process called seed germination. During seed germination, plumule grows towards the soil surface, showing negative geotropic movement, and comes out of the soil as a seedling. This is the process called seedling emergence. This is the summary of the difference between germination and emergence.
1. Heslop-Harrison, John. “Germination.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., Available here.
2. Arteca, Richard N. “Seed Germination and Seedling Growth.” SpringerLink, Springer, Boston, MA, 1 Jan. 1996, Available here.