Seed plants produce seeds for reproductive purposes. According to University of California Museum of Paleontology, seed plants are among the most important organisms on Earth. Products of seed plants include forests, food and soils. Classified as spermatophytes, seed plants are a type of land plant known as embryophytes. Seed plants produce seeds of all shapes and sizes, depending on the type of plant and growing location.
Seed plants consist of two main categories of plants: gymnosperms and angiosperms. Gymnosperms consist of conifers, cycads, ginko and gnetophytes. Gymnosperms produce naked seeds. For example, pine trees produce cones that contain naked seeds.
Angiosperms produce flowers that develop into fruits containing seeds. According to Botanical Online, approximately 250,000 species of angiosperms exist. Most scientists consider angiosperms to be superior to gymnosperms due to their adaptability to different soils and climates.
The earliest known seed plants were seed ferns, now extinct. Evolving around 370 million years ago, the seed ferns are found in fossil evidence. According to the Natural History Museum, angiosperms appeared on Earth in the early Cretaceous period, around 130 million years ago. Gymnosperms have been traced back to the late Carboniferous period.
Angiosperms are highly adaptable, living in all habitats on Earth, including the oceans. Gymnosperms have only 750 species; their dominant habitats include dry and cold regions.
Seed plants provide the vast majority of plants you notice every day. Essential to survival, they provide food, shelter, medicine and wood. In addition to their products, seed plants benefit the environment through soil erosion control and water and air purification.
Additional Reproductive Methods
The production of seeds does not limit a plant to reproduction only through seed germination. Many seed plants contain the potential to reproduce through asexual means. New plants can be produced through growth on horizontal stems through runners or rhizomes. Modified roots may produce suckers that produce new plants. Cuttings of both roots and stems can be treated to produce new root growth, which produces a new plant.