The embryo consists of an axis bearing one (Monocotyledons) or two (Dicotyledons) cotyledons, which protect the stem bud (plumule) of the future plant, and ending below in a radicle.
The solitary seed has no perisperm or albumen, but has two large and curiously crumpled cotyledons concealing the plumule, the leaves of which, even at this early stage, show traces of pinnae.
The germ-sheath grows vertically upwards, its stiff apex pushing through the soil, while the plumule is hidden in its hollow interior.
Finally the plumule escapes, its leaves successively breaking through at the tip of the germ-sheath.
By further growth this tissue gives rise to a proembryo, which consists, at the micropylar end, of a sac; the tissue at the chalazal end grows into a long and tangled suspensor, terminating in a mass of cells, which is eventually differentiated into a radicle, plumule and two cotyledons.