Plant embryology became an independent science in the 19th century with the development of cell theory and Darwin's theory of evolution. It is not just a subdivision of plant physiology, because plant embryology concerns itself with the basic laws of sporogenesis, gametogenesis, zygogenesis, endospermogenesis, embryogeny, and apomixis. Plant embryologists may study embryological processes in various species, in plants of individual systematic groups, or in plant organisms in order to reveal the functional, biochemical, and genetic nature of embryonic processes.

A course in plant embryology will normally cover the following topics:

  • Microsporophyll
  • Microgametophyte
  • Megasporophyl
  • Megametophyte
  • Pollination
  • Fertilization
  • Sexual incompatibility
  • Endosperm
  • Embryo
  • Apomixis
  • Polyembryony
  • Seed
  • Embryology in relation to taxonomy
  • Experimental embryology
  • Palynology


Students can go to Amazon.com and find a nice collection of plant embryology textbooks. Additional selections of textbooks in this area can be found on Google. Students should most certainly follow the University of Chicago's International Journal of Plant Sciences. Although few in number, students should also check out Brown University's plant reproduction papers.

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