Seeds and Spores – What Are The Differences?

seeds and spores

Pumpkin seeds.

Seeds and spores are both used to help plants or fungus reproduce and make new life.  But, do you really know how they are different?

In a previous post I talked about the two main ways that plants reproduce, which is either by producing seeds or spores.  I did not get into the details on how they differ though.  They are very different strategies that different forms of life have chosen to reproduce and it is important to understand them.  This can quickly get too complicated.  So, I will keep it simple and list a few key differences between seeds and spores here.

seeds and spores

Some seeds are inside of fruit, such as Kiwi.

Seeds And Spores – What Are Seeds?

A single seed contains several different things that all help the new plant to grow and survive.  Each seed contains an outer seed coat, an embryo, and most contain an endosperm.

The embryo is essentially a tiny plant inside of the seed.  The embryo is the actual new, tiny plant.  The embryo consists of a multi-cellular organism that will grow into the new plant.

Some, but not all, seeds also have an endosperm.  The endosperm is a temporary supply of food for the new plant to use to help with its initial growth.

The seed coat is a hard outer covering that protects the embryo from being damaged so that it can grow into a new plant.

seeds and spores

Some spores come from fungus (mushrooms).

Seeds And Spores – What Are Spores?

Spores are used for reproduction by plants, fungi, and algae.  Spores are tiny, mostly made up of only a singe cell and don’t have a seed coat to protect them.  However, a single spore is capable of reproducing and growing into a new organism, such as a fern or fungus.

seeds and sporesSeeds And Spores – Key Differences

The Number Of Cells – A seed contains a multicellular embryo.  The embryo is made up of many cells that have different functions to grow into the new plant.  In contrast to this a spore is just one single cell.

What Produces Them – Seeds are produced by only plants.  Spores are produced and used by plants, fungi, and algae for reproduction.

Size – Seeds are not exactly large, but they are big enough to easily see and hold in your hand.  On the other hand spores are too small to see.  They are microscopic and can fit on the end of a pencil.