The development of the ovule, which represents the embryo- Gymnosperms; when mature it consists of one or two sac. coats surrounding the central nucellus, except at the apex where an opening, the micropyle, is left.
The nucellus is a cellular tissue enveloping one large cell, the embryo-sac or macrospore.
In Coelebogyne (Euphorbiaceae) and in Funkia (Liliaceae) polyembryony results from an adventitious production of embryos from the cells of the nucellus around the top of the embryo-sac. In a species of Allium, embryos have been found developing in the same individual from the egg-cell, synergids, antipodal cells and cells of the nucellus.
As the development of embryo and endosperm proceeds within the embryo-sac, its wall enlarges and commonly absorbs the substance of the nucellus (which is likewise enlarging) to near its outer limit, and combines with it and the integument Fruit and to form the seed-coat; or the whole nucellus and even the integument may be absorbed.
Ovular characters determine the grouping in the Dicotyledons, van Tieghem supporting the view that the integument, the outer if there be two, is the lamina of a leaf of which the funicle is the petiole, whilst the nucellus is an outgrowth of this leaf, and the inner integument, if present, an indusium.