We all know what seeds are – but have you ever noticed tree buds? Tree buds are those small, pointy “cones” on branches. Depending on the tree species, tree buds may be along the branch or only at the end, sometimes alone or in multiples. Tree buds contain baby leaves and/or flowers. Some are tiny (like a maple tree bud) and some are large (like a magnolia tree bud). Next time you are outside, look for tree buds – they are all over! (They’ve been there all winter.)
Seeds and tree buds have many similarities. Both contain an embryo – like a baby – plant. Seeds are protected by hard outer coverings that protect them during the cold and dry winter months. Tree buds also are covered with hard scales that protect trees. Both seeds and trees react to the changes that spring brings, such as warmth and increased moisture in the soil and air. Seeds and tree buds will swell and eventually open, allowing the baby plant, flower, or leaf inside to start growing. Seeing seeds germinate and tree buds swell and open is a wonderful sign that spring is on the way!