Biology Class Eleven  

Anatomy of Flowering Plants


A group of cells with common origin is called a tissue. The cells of a tissue usually perform a common function.

Types of Tissue:

There are two main types of plant tissues, viz. meristematic tissue and permanent tissue.


The cells in the meristematic tissue have the capability to divide. Meristematic tissue is found in growth regions of plants, e.g. root tip, shoot tip, buds, etc. The meristematic tissues are further divided into two types, viz. primary and secondary meristems.

Primary Meristems: The meristematic tissues which appear early in the life of a plant and which are responsible for the formation of primary plant body; are called primary meristem. There are two types of primary meristem, viz. apical meristem and intercalary meristem.

(a) Apical Meristem: As the name suggest, the apical meristem is found at the apex of root and stem. During the formation of leaves and elongation of stem, some cells of the apical meristem are left behind from the shoot tip. These cells constitute the axillary bud. Axillary buds are capable of forming a branch or a flower.

(b) Intercalary Meristem: The intercalary meristem is found between mature tissues. In grasses, the intercalary meristem helps in regenerating parts which were removed by the grazing animals.


The newly formed plant cells become specialized and lose the ability of cell division. Such cells are called permanent or mature cells and form the permanent tissues. There are two types of permanent tissues, viz. simple tissue and complex tissue.

Simple Tissue: All the cells in a simple tissue are of only one type. Simple tissue is further divided into three types, viz. parenchyma, collenchyma and sclerenchyma.

(a) Parenchyma: The cells of parenchyma are usually isodiametric. They can be spherical, oval, round, polygonal or elongated in shape. The cell wall is thin and is made up of cellulose. Cells of parenchyma are either closely packed or have small intercellular spaces. Photosynthesis, storage and secretion are the main functions of parenchyma. Moreover, the bulk of the plant is made up of parenchyma.

(b) Collenchyma: Cells of collenchyma are thickened at corners because of deposition of cellulose, hemicellulose and pectin. The cells can be oval, spherical and polygonal. Collenchyma is present in layers below the epidermis in dicotyledonous plants. Collenchyma provides mechanical strength; alongwith flexibility to certain plant parts, like stalk of a leaf.

(c) Sclerenchyma: The cells of sclerenchyma are long, narrow and have thick and lignified cell walls. There can be a few or numerous pits in sclerenchyma. Cells of sclerenchyma are usually dead with our without protoplast. Sclerenchyma can be either fibres or sclereids. The thick-walled elongated and pointed cells in sclerenchyma are called fibres. The fibres usually occur in groups. The spherical, oval or cylindrical cells with very narrow lumen; in sclerenchyma are called sclereids. Sclereids are usually found in the fruit walls of nuts, pulp of fruits like guava, pear and sapota; seed coats of legumes and leaves of tea. The gritty texture of pear or guava is because of sclereids. The main function of sclerenchyma is to provide mechanical support.

Complex Tissues:

A complex plant tissue is made up of more than one type of cells. There are two types of complex plant tissues, viz. xylem and phloem.

(a) Xylem: Xylem is composed of four elements, viz. tracheids, vessels, xylem fibres and xylem parenchyma.

  • Tracheids: These are elongated or tube-like cells. They have thick and lignified walls and tapering ends. The tracheid cells are dead and protoplasm is absent. Tracheids and vessels are the main conducting elements in flowering plants.
  • Vessel: These are long, cylindrical tube-like structures. These are made up of many cells which are called vessel members. Each vessel member has lignified walls and a large central cavity. Protoplasm is absent in vessel cells. The vessel members are interconnected through perforations in their common walls. The presence of vessels is a characteristic feature of angiosperms.
  • Xylem Fibres: The xylem fibres have highly thickened walls and obliterated central lumens. Septa may be present or absent in xylem fibres.
  • Xylem Parenchyma: The xylem parenchyma is composed of living cells which are thin-walled. The cell wall of xylem parenchyma is made up of cellulose. Xylem parenchyma stores food in the form of starch or fat, and some other substances like tannins. Parenchymatous cells facilitate the radial conduction of water in plants.

Primary xylem is of two types, viz. protoxylem and metaxylem. Protoxylem are the first formed primary xylem elements, while the metaxylem are formed later.

Endarch: The protoxylem lies towards the pith in stem and the metaxylem lies towards the periphery. This type of primary xylem is called endarch.

Exarch: The protoxylem lies towards the periphery in roots and the metaxylem lies towards the pith. This type of primary xylem is called exarch.

Transportation of water and minerals from roots to different plant parts is the main function of xylem. Xylem also provides mechanical strength.

(b) Phloem: The phloem; in angiosperms; is composed of four elements, viz. sieve tube, companion cells, phloem parenchyma and phloem fibres. In case of gymnosperms, the phloem has albuminous cells and sieve cells. Sieve tubes and companion cells are absent in the phloem in gymnosperms.

Sieve Tube: The sieve tube elements are long, tube-like structures. They are arranged longitudinally. The end walls of sieve tubes are perforated to form sieve plates. A mature sieve element has a peripheral cytoplasm and a large vacuole but no nucleus. The nucleus of the companion cell controls the function of sieve element.

Companion Cells: These are specialized parenchymatous cells. The companion cells are closely associated with sieve tube elements. There is a common pit field in the common longitudinal wall between the sieve tube element and companion cell. These piths connect both of them. The companion cell helps in maintaining the pressure gradient in the sieve tubes.

Phloem Parenchyma: The cells of phloem parenchyma are elongated, tapering cylindrical cells. The cells have dense cytoplasm and nucleus. Cell wall is composed of cellulose and has pits. Plasmodesmatal connections exist between the cells through these pits. Phloem parenchyma stores food and other substances like resin, latex and mucilage. Phloem parenchyma is usually absent in monocotyledonous.

Phloem Fibre: These are also called bast fibres and are made up of sclerenchyma. Phloem fibres are usually absent in primary phloem but present in secondary phloem. The phloem fibres are much elongated, unbranched and have pointed, needle-like apices. Phloem fibres of jute, flax and hemp are commercially used.

The primary phloem which is first formed consists of narrow sieve tubes and is called protophloem. The later formed phloem has bigger sieve tubes and is called metaphloem.

Anatomy of Flowering Plants - Class eleven - Types of Tissue
Anatomy of Flowering Plants - Class eleven - Secondary Growth
Anatomy of Flowering Plants - Class eleven - NCERT Solution

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