Plant Structure and Growth



Plant structures and growth, in many ways, parallel the structures and growth of animals. Plants have anatomical structures and specific anatomical functions. These structures are comprised of different types of cells, found only in plants: sclerenchyma, collenchyma, parenchyma, xylem, and phloem cells. They form the woody structures that hold plants upright while allowing them to be flexible. They also form the pipe-like vessels that allow water and sap to flow through plants. Plant growth patterns depend on specific structures called meristems. Apical meristems provide for growth in the height of the shoot system and growing depth of roots. Lateral meristems affect the growth of woody plants by increased growth in girth.

At A Glance

  • The basic cells of a plant include sclerenchyma, collenchyma, parenchyma, phloem, and xylem cells.
  • Roots absorb water and minerals from the soil to provide nutrients to plants.
  • Stems are vascular support systems divided into sections that support branches and reproductive structures.
  • Xylem is a woody, vein-like tissue that carries water from roots to leaves. Phloem is the transport vessel for plant sap.
  • Leaves prevent water loss through stomata and cuticle and are the location where most photosynthesis takes place.
  • Primary and secondary growth are the result of meristems—structures with duplicating cells that encourage vertical or lateral growth.