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Does A Seed Die?

Dandelion seeds by susannp4

Children ask some of the deepest and best questions, and many of our own best questions come from a willingness to ask with child-like curiosity.

One of those questions is related to the Bible statement by Jesus saying “… That which you sow will not come to life unless it dies.” (1 Corinthians 15:36)

acorns become the mighty oak by Klimkin

A friend asked me about this the other day "Do seeds really die?" I gave him a short answer, but a more complete answer is more interesting.


sprout graphic by OpenClipart-Vectors

When we consider that every tree and plant in the world does not come from a tree, but a seed. Inside the seed is not a miniature tree but all the components to construct a tree. Trees never start as recognizable trees but tiny sprouts fighting their way into the dirt with roots and if they are underground, breaking the soil above to reach sunshine.

The seeds know up from down, otherwise roots would reach for sunshine and the sprout would quickly die buried in the dark.

Every bit of wisdom necessary is there in every seed of every species to build itself into the form of its parent. This means the same trunk, leaves, and shape with the identical functions for attracting pollinators, fighting insects and fungus and other diseases. Trees bloom in sync and behave similarly within each species. You may notice how many forests are dominated by one species.

But about the seed dying…

I can say this about living things . . .

  1. Nothing dead needs food, nothing dead is affected by a lack of nutrition.

  2. Nothing that grows is dead or non-living.

  3. Nothing that reproduces is dead.


Magnolia tree blossom by

Trees come from seeds and a seed grows from a tree, usually inside a fruit, cone or pod of some kind. It forms microscopically growing to a size typical of its maturity. To go from microscopic to its full size requires nutrition: that is alive.

If it is cut off from that nutrition or conditions are such that it never reaches the complete stage, it will never have the ability to fulfill its purpose of reproduction.

Seeds have the specific function of leaving its "parent" with one primary purpose; to replicate its parent and at full maturity will bear more seeds that repeats the same cycle.

Maple seeds by Wiegots

Here is a critical observation: while receiving nutrition it cannot germinate. It can never reproduce while "alive" (eating, growing, dependent).

However, seeds once separated from their "parent" are cut off from all nutrition. There is no photosynthesis.

What is peculiar about a seed is that it does not require nutrition.

Some would call this a dormant stage, not dead. Some animals hibernate, but in hibernation, their functions are complete and they continue consuming nutrition stored (fat, prey or something else). If immature, they will also grow during hibernation. Growth and nutrition are signs of true life. A seed does not consume anything stored in itself nor does it leech on something else as a parasite.

Like hibernation, a pupa (such as a caterpillar into a butterfly) is morphing continually while in the cocoon as a living thing that is changing. It is more like a fetus in a womb taking its programmed shape in stages.

seeds/beans by tiburi

Seeds can maintain this "functional, dead" state for literally thousands of years, neither growing nor consuming. The seed has all the characteristics of something not alive, like a rock, which does not change with time, it is the same one day in form and character as it was 500 years earlier. Either can only change if broken by external forces.

But even a rock and seed are different because at one time the seed lived. The seed was alive and it grew. It consumed nutrition to reach its independence from its parent, but once detached and cut off from its source of nutrition it “died” taking on the characteristics of a non-living thing.


In another place at another time under the right circumstances, germination is triggered and suddenly there is a type of resurrection, there is movement, there is change, it turns into something alive.

germinated maple seed by engvall

At germination, the seed does not become its "old self" but something completely different.

The seed can never return to its former seed state after coming alive. It can never live again without nutrition. It is vulnerable and dependent on certain environmental necessities and can be killed by disease, by insects, by storm or extreme environmental change. The seed "died" once but for the first time, triggered by the right conditions, the seed lives again to become something unlike anything it was before. No one sees a resemblance between a tree and its seed. You have to know.

The rites of passage for a tree seed is:

* Emerging growth budding on a tree and into a formed container

* Detached seed

* Awakened life

* Total metamorphosis from a seed to a rooted sapling capable of becoming a full grown tree alone or in a forest.

pine sapling by nic76

bird and sunflower by Schanin

Not science fiction, true, real technology beyond the grasp of man’s intellect testifying to intellect superior to our own, unless you believe engineering greater than man’s capability requires no intelligence.

Imagine this: a seed has

In reality .. . our reality is astounding.

farmers under the trees by angfangzhan

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