The developing embryo at the end of the suspensor grows out to a varying extent into the forming endosperm, from which by surface absorption it derives good material for growth; at the same time the suspensor plays a direct part as a carrier of nutrition, and may even develop, where perhaps no endosperm is formed, special absorptive "suspensor roots" which invest the developing embryo, or pass out into the body and coats of the ovule, or even into the placenta.
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.
After fertilization the ovum-nucleus divides and cell-formation proceeds rapidly, especially in the lower part of the ovum, in which the cotyledon and axis of the embryo are differentiated; the long, tangled suspensor of the cycadean embryo is not found in Ginkgo.
In Ephedra helvetica, as described by Jaccard, no proembryo or suspensor is formed; but the most vigorous fertilized egg, after undergoing several divisions, becomes attached to a tissue, termed the columella, which serves the purpose of a primary suspensor; the columella appears to be formed by the lignification of certain cells in the central region of the embryo-sac. At a later stage some of the cells in the upper (micropylar) end of the embryo divide and undergo considerable elongation, serving the purpose of a secondary suspensor.
After fertilization the embryo forms a short suspensor; the apex of the stem, with a leaf on each side of it, is first distinguishable; at the base of this is the foot; while the root arises on the farther side of the latter.