Did You Know Seeds Also Sleep, And Even Snooze When It’s Too Hot?

A person laying in bed with an alarm clock

For seeds to grow into plants they need to wake up at the right time. Seeds also have sleep patterns and farmers pay a lot of attention to them. Dry seeds remain dormant and only germinate when favourable conditions return. To maximize yields, farmers aim to have seeds “wake up” uniformly in the soil, so the entire crop can grow and be harvested at the same time.

Researchers recently discovered an internal thermometer in seeds that delays or blocks germination when temperatures are too high [1]. Like an alarm clock snooze function, this delay helps seeds avoid germinating and dying as seedlings during hot conditions

Understanding how temperature and other environmental factors influence germination is critical for adapting varieties to better cope with climate change.


[1] The Arabidopsis endosperm is a temperature-sensing tissue that implements seed thermoinhibition through phyB (