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seed development stages

Seed development stages

Biology of a process

The majority of higher plants derive energy for growth and development solely from photosynthesis (autotrophic nutrition). However, each plant undergoes in its ontogenesis a short but important stage of heterotrophic nutrition. The germinating embryo prior appearance of the first photosynthetic structures is fed exclusively by storages accumulated during the seed formation (i.e., proteins, fats, and carbohydrates) [West M.A.L. and Harada J.J. 1993, Shewry P.R., 1995]. As is well known, the main function of a plant seed is to provide a viable offspring. The storage substances play a key role, by providing nutrition of a seedling during the heterotrophic stages of its development. Seed formation passes several overlapping but rather independent stages. Before the beginning of flowering, an embryonic structures are formed out of apical meristem. The switch from the vegetative stage of development to the reproductive one is regulated by different mechanisms. Among these mechanisms are inner biological clock, hormonal background, and environmental conditions such as a day length, temperature fluctuations, humidity, etc.

1. At the first stage, a pollination followed by fertilization occur.
2. The second stage is characterized by establishment of a general composition of the future plant. Embryonic tissues (protoderm, procambium, ground meristem) are being differentiated. The axis of development of an embryo is being formed, with apical meristem of a root from one side and apical meristem of a stem – from the other.
3. At the following stage, storage substances are being intensively worked out, these substances will be necessary at subsequent stages, during seed germination.
4. Seed development is finished by preparation of a seed to the dormancy stage and final maturation at the dormancy stage.
5. Dormancy stage.

Seed development stages Biology of a process The majority of higher plants derive energy for growth and development solely from photosynthesis (autotrophic nutrition). However, each plant

Soybean growth stages

The soybean is a dicotyledonous plant, meaning that it has two embryonic leaves, or cotyledons. Soybean plants exhibits epigeal emergence, as the cotyledons emerge above the soil surface.

How soybeans develop

During germination, an elongating hypocotyl pushes the cotyledons through the soil to the surface. Soybeans generally emerge best if they’re planted no deeper than 2 inches because of the energy required to push the large cotyledons through heavy soils.

After emergence, the green cotyledons open and supply the developing leaves with stored energy, while capturing a small amount of light energy.

Unifoliolate leaves develop first. Two of these single leaves appear directly opposite from one another above the cotyledons. All subsequent leaves are trifoliolates with three leaflets.

Growth stages

Two distinct growth phases characterize soybean development:

Vegetative (V) stages: From emergence through flowering (Table 1).

Reproductive (R) stages: From flowering through maturation (Table 2).

Plant stages are determined by classifying leaf, flower, pod and/or seed development. Staging also requires identifying the node, or the part of the stem that a leaf attaches to (or was attached to).

A leaf is considered fully developed when the leaf at the node directly above it (the next younger leaf) has expanded enough so the two lateral edges on each leaflet have partially unrolled and no longer touch.

Vegetative phase (Table 1)

Table 1: Vegetative stages
Stage Description
VE Emergence: Cotyledons above the soil surface.
VC Cotyledon: Unifoliolate leaves sufficiently unroll, so the leaf edges do not touch.
V1 First node: Fully developed leaves at unifoliolate node.
V(n) nth-node: The “n” represents the number of nodes on the main stem with fully developed leaves, beginning with the unifoliolate leaves.
Source: Fehr and Caviness

Reproductive phase (Table 2)

Table 2: Reproductive stages

Stage Description
R1 Beginning bloom: One open flower at any node on the main stem.
R2 Full bloom: Open flower at one of the two uppermost nodes on the main stem with a fully developed flower.
R3 Beginning pod: Three-sixteenths-inch-long pod at one of the four uppermost nodes on the main stem with a fully developed leaf.
R4 Full pod: Three-quarter-inch-long pod at one of the four uppermost nodes on the main stem with a fully developed leaf.
R5 Beginning seed: One-eighth-inch-long seed in a pod at one of the four uppermost nodes on the main stem with a fully developed leaf.
R6 Full seed: Pod containing a green seed that fills the pod cavity at one of the four uppermost nodes on the main stem with a fully developed leaf.
R7 Beginning maturity: One normal pod on the main stem that has reached its mature pod color.
R8 Full maturity: 95 percent of the pods have reached their mature pod color. After R8, five to 10 days of drying weather are required to reduce soybean moisture levels to less than 15 percent.
Source: Fehr and Caviness

Days between stages

Table 3: Number of days between stages
Stages Average number of days Range in number of days
Planning to VE 10 days 5 to 15 days
VE to VC 5 days 3 to 10 days
VC to V1 5 days 3 to 10 days
V1 to V2 5 days 3 to 10 days
V2 to V3 5 days 3 to 10 days
V3 to V4 5 days 3 to 8 days
V4 to V5 5 days 3 to 8 days
Beyond V5 3 days 2 to 5 days
R1 to R2 3 days 0 to 7 days
R2 to R3 10 days 5 to 15 days
R3 to R4 9 days 5 to 15 days
R4 to R5 9 days 4 to 26 days
R5 to R6 15 days 11 to 20 days
R6 to R7 18 days 9 to 30 days
R7 to R8 9 days 7 to 18 days

Herbicides: How growth stage affects applications

Application times for post-emergence herbicides often depend on soybean growth stages. To avoid injury, identify soybean development by growth stage rather than by height or the date they fill the rows.

Environmental changes, such as temperature and rainfall, can greatly alter the height of soybeans without greatly affecting early reproductive growth stages such as flowering.

How soybean plants develop: Descriptions of vegetative and reproductive growth stages, from emergence to flowering to maturation.