Characteristics of Shoot Systems The aboveground, conspicuous part of flowering plants constitutes the shoot system , which is composed of erect stems on which are attached leaves , flowers , and buds . Leaves are attached to the stem at regions called nodes . The section of stem between nodes is an internode , and the upper angle between the stem and the leaf at the node is called the leaf axil. Axillary (lateral) buds located in the leaf axils give rise to vegetative branch stems or to flowers. Terminal buds are present at the tips of the main stem and branches and contain the apical meristem tissues. The shoot originates in the embryo at the end opposite the root and develops a complex shoot apex , different from that of the root ( see Table 1 ). The growing point of the shoot—the apical meristem —is surrounded by developing leaves (
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