Is dried grain considered dead or dormant botanically?

Related to a BH-SE question.

  • $\begingroup$ Relevant to the BH-SE quote, a seed considered biologically dead (cooked, too old, etc.) will not then produce a crop. $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 7, 2014 at 15:28
  • $\begingroup$ I would imagine this might vary by species, where the seeds of different plants could survive different degrees or duration of dryness. $\endgroup$
    – Mr.Mindor
    Commented Aug 7, 2014 at 16:56
  • $\begingroup$ Dried Whole Grain is obviously dormant, not dead, because, used as a seed it can grow into a plant. $\endgroup$
    – user8655
    Commented Aug 7, 2014 at 17:03

2 Answers 2


Dried grains are very mostly viable means they are in a dormant state until and unless suitable condition are provided. More dried it will be viable for longer.

In fact there are seeds found in Siberia which are ~32,000 years and still viable.

Courtesy: National Geographic

Source: US Emergency Supply: Introduction to Seed Viability


I got to thinking that there must be a distinction between grain and the germ. The grain must die in order for the germ to come alive. I am confident that the germ will not grow so long as the grain is alive. It is through the process of its dying and acquiring moisture from the earth, that the grain converts to sugar which supports the germ and enables it to sprout. The germ is in the grain, but separate & distinct from the grain, like a baby in the womb is in the mother, but separate and distinct from her. With grain, the mother must die for the germination to occur. With humans not so.

  • $\begingroup$ This response can be moved to BH-SE if it is more appropriate there. $\endgroup$
    – Sarah
    Commented Nov 12, 2016 at 20:29

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