Following fertilization of the egg cell by a sperm cell, the zygote develops inside the seed. The fully developed zygote in a dry seed is called the embryo.

An embryo contains a shoot meristem and a root meristem and depending on the species will have one (monocot), two (dicot) or numerous cotyledons (gynmosperms).

The embryo has the ability to form an entire new plant.

Photo of a tomato seed with a cutaway showing the embryo. Photo of a bean seed showing the embryo.