When you first see these bizarre and intricate images, you may think that you are witnessing photographs of real alien lifeforms!
What you are actually looking at are super-magnified close ups of plant seeds.
So what actually is a seed?
A seed is a small embryonic plant enclosed in a covering called the seed coat, usually with some stored food. It is the product of the ripened ovule of gymnosperm and angiosperm plants which occurs after fertilization and some growth within the mother plant.
Seeds have been an important development in the reproduction and spread of flowering plants, relative to more primitive plants such as mosses, ferns and liverworts, which do not have seeds and use other means to propagate themselves. This can be seen by the success of seed plants (both gymnosperms and angiosperms) in dominating biological niches on land, from forests to grasslands both in hot and cold climates.
Images are copyright of Jamie Cresswell 2011