Sprout vs. Seedling – 苗 vs. 萌

What is the difference between a sprout and a seedling? And here I mean in both English, but more importantly, in Japanese between 苗 and 萌. I don’t have a botanical or agriculture background, so these two seem like the same thing to me.

(I’m asking because I cannot seem to get a couple kanji past guru.)

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“As nouns the difference between sprout and seedling is that sprout is a new growth on a plant, whether from seed or other parts while seedling is (botany) a young plant grown from seed.”

Source: https://wikidiff.com/sprout/seedling

In that sense, it seems like a sprout can be growth from anywhere on a plant or tree (sprouting from the branch, from the leaf, from the flower head etc.) While a seedling is strictly something sprouting from the seed.


I tried searching google images to see the difference, but 萌 just returned a bunch of pictures of girls. :joy:


I love that one definition of 苗 leads to another kanji for “sprout”.


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That makes sense. A seedling is seed that has sprouted. A sprout can encompass things that sprout from either seeds or roots. Basically, every seedling is a sprout but not all sprouts are a seedling. For example, think of the sprouts that grow from a potato if you leave it sitting out long enough:


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