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For most species the seedling stage is less than a month, and in many probably less than 2 weeks. Observation of seedlings in grassy woodland vegetation is hindered by their small size and the difficulty of species identification. Young seedlings of dicotyledonous species are generally recognisable by their characteristic pair of cotyledons (seed leaves). The single cotyledons of monocots however are very difficult to recognise.

The seedling stage is the most vulnerable part of the life cycle for most woodland species; seedlings are very susceptible to drying conditions and vulnerable to predators, and continuing moist conditions are necessary for rapid growth. Find out more in our seedling image gallery