In what way do seeds “extend life”?

Just like people, plant seeds also want to “extend life.”

The life span of a seed usually refers to the period of time that the seed population maintains its vitality under certain environmental conditions, that is, the time the seed can survive. For example, wheat seeds, rice seeds, and corn seeds generally have a life span of 3 to 15 years.

In what way do seeds “extend life”? Ordinary seeds will be actively dehydrated on the mother plant when they are mature. This dehydration operation can significantly extend the life of the seed and increase the survival rate. The reason is not difficult to understand. It is easy to rot and mold when the fresh seeds are buried directly in the soil.

This phenomenon inspired people to continue to dehydrate the harvested seeds to further extend their lifespan. There is another surprising rule in the process of seed dehydration, namely the “Harrington General Principle”: within a certain range, every 1% decrease in the water content of the seed will double its lifespan. If the technology is right, some seeds can be dehydrated again when their moisture content drops to 5%. This method is called “seed ultra-drying treatment”. At this time, the effect of “prolonging life” is even more impressive. When the moisture content of sesame seeds is reduced from 5% to 2%, their life span will be extended by 40 times.

For plant seeds, the life span of more than 15 years is called “long-lived seeds”; while “short-lived seeds” like poplar and willow trees usually have a life span of only one week.

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