Whenever I introduce MicroGreens to anyone for the first time, I always notice this look of confusion when I show them these tiny, clover-like leaves and tell them it's Kale (or whichever micro it may be that day) Curious and suspicious, folks lean in to learn more.
They always respond with "But how is that Kale?"
This is probably no surprise, but vegetables don't always look like their adult versions that you are familiar with seeing at your local grocery store or farmer's market. They don't even look like the plant starters you may buy in the Spring to start your own home gardens. At the very beginning, most vegetables when started from seed, grow these early unique leaves called the cotyledon, or seed leaves. And like most creatures on this Earth, we all look the same at the early stage of our life. Well, so do vegetables! You will notice the seed leaves on most veggies will look nearly identical. But it's these special leaves that pack the powerful nutritional value of MicroGreens, and why they are so important to eat at this young stage.
Here's a little scientific definition on cotyledons:
cotyledons are photosynthetic, the cotyledons are functionally similar to leaves. However, true leaves and cotyledons are developmentally distinct. Cotyledons are formed during embryogenesis, along with the root and shoot meristems, and are therefore present in the seed prior to germination. True leaves, however, are formed post-embryonically (i.e. after germination) from the shoot apical meristem, which is responsible for generating subsequent aerial portions of the plant.
I love this time lapse video on growing MicroGreens, provided via the Sprout People out of San Francisco, California (see above) It really helps people understand the growing process better. And if it's still a little confusing, check out this handy illustration below on plant growth.
Isn't nature just the coolest?