Seeds in which endosperm or perisperm or both exist are commonly called albuminous or endospermic, those in which neither is found are termed exalbuminous or exendospermic. These terms, extensively used by systematists, only refer, however, to the grosser features of the seed, and indicate the more or less evident.
Occurrence of a food-reserve; many so-called exalbuminous seeds show to microscopic examination a distinct endosperm which may have other than a nutritive function.
We should expect the albuminous state of the seed to be an antecedent one to the exalbuminous condition, and the recent discoveries in fertilization tend to confirm this view.
Exalbuminous Dicotyledons usually store reserve-food in their cotyledons, which may in germination remain below ground (hypogeal).
Exalbuminous Monocotyledons are either hydrophytes or strongly hygrophilous plants and have often peculiar features in germination.