April 21, 2021

Radicle -  \ˈra-di-kəl/ noun

The part of the plant embryo that develops the root. This is the first thing to emerge from the seed during the germination process.  It is the main root of the plant and will grow downward into the soil to collect water and nutrients.

The radicle in the Forest Garden

The radicle is one of the most important parts of a plant. It is the first part of the plant to begin to grow when the process of germination starts. The radicle emerges from the seed coat and grows downward, forming the beginning of the plant’s taproot. This baby root anchors the seed in place in the soil. Once this happens, the seed can access water and continue to germinate, sending up the embryonic stem, supporting the first 2 leaves of the seedling. If the radicle is damaged, the seedling will die. One way that the radicle may die is if the nursery medium or soil is too dry or too wet. Too dry will cause the emerging seedling to dry up. If it is too wet, the radicle may begin to rot and become diseased, and as a result the seedling will eventually die. Regardless of how you plant the seeds, the radicle will sense up and down and will orient downwards in its growth as soon as it emerges. Still, for bigger seeds like mangos, it may still be helpful to plant them with the hilum down, so the radicle will emerge and move downward right away.

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