How a Plant Body Develops

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  • 0:02 Plants are Everywhere
  • 0:33 Growth of Plants
  • 1:29 Morphogenesis
  • 2:54 Differentiation in Plants
  • 3:36 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Yuanxin (Amy) Yang Alcocer

Amy has a master's degree in secondary education and has taught math at a public charter high school.

View this lesson to learn how plants develop. Discover the terms that describe how a plant goes from seed to full-grown plant. Learn what goes on at the cellular level as the plant grows.

Plants Are Everywhere

Take a good look around and you'll see plants everywhere. Those flowers in your neighbor's yard are plants. Those large trees down the street are plants. That funny-looking, fur-covered cactus is a plant. Your fruit trees are plants. Pretty much everything that grows from the ground and has leaves is a plant. There are even plants that live in the sea.

In this lesson, we'll see how plants grow and develop. Let's look at this avocado seed, and see how it grows into an avocado tree.

Growth of Plants

Many plants begin life as a seed. Some plants begin life when another plant grows a twin. For example, strawberry plants send out long shoots that turn into new strawberry plants. Spider plants do the same thing, but you can see the baby plants at the ends of their shoots.

If a plant begins life from another plant, you can immediately see that it is a baby because it looks like a miniature of the grown plant. However, if the plant begins life as a seed, it won't look like a baby version of the full-grown plant right away. The seed sprouts first and the plant becomes a seedling that looks like a green stalk with two roundish leaves. Then, as the plant grows, it starts to get the leaves and the shape of the full-grown plant.

We can get our avocado seed started by placing it in a cup of water. We'll see the roots come out of the bottom of the seed, and then we see two roundish leaves appear at the top. It is now a seedling.


The science term for how a plant grows into its final form is morphogenesis. It's a big word that just means the process that causes a particular organism to develop into its final shape. All organisms that grow undergo morphogenesis. Morphogenesis describes how a plant starts as a seed, develops into a seedling, and then turns into its final form as a full-grown plant.

Each plant has its own morphogenesis. You can see this because each plant looks different. For example, you can tell a strawberry plant from an apple tree because they look very different from each other. Further, each plant has its own morphogenesis process in place that tells it how to change as it grows into its adult form. You can think of it like a blueprint of sorts. As the plant is growing, it is following the blueprint that tells it how to grow.

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