By: Muhammad Salehuddin Ahmad Nor Wahidah Hasim

1. Meristematic zones 2 .Apical meristems 2.1 Shoot apical meristems 2.2 Root apical meristems 2.3 Intercalary meristem 2.4 Floral meristem 2.5 Apical dominance 3. Primary meristems 4. Secondary meristems

A meristem is a tissue in all plants consisting of undifferentiated cells (meristematic cells) and found in zones of the plant where growth can take place. The term “meristem” was first used by Karl Wilhelm von Nägeli (1817-1891) from his book “Beiträge zur Wissenschaftichen Botanik” in 1858. It is derived from the Greek word “merizein”, meaning to divide in recognition of its inherent function.

Differentiated plant cells generally cannot divide or produce cells of a different type. Therefore, cell division in the meristem is required to provide new cells for expansion and differentiation of tissues and initiation of new organs, providing the basic structure of the plant body.

Apical meristems are the completely undifferentiated (indeterminate) meristems in a plant. These differentiate into three kinds of primary meristems. The primary meristems in turn produce the two secondary meristem types. These secondary meristems are also known as lateral meristems because they are involved in lateral growth.

Apical meristem

Shoot apical meristem

Root apical meristem

Intercalary meristem

Floral meristem

Apical dominance

The apical meristem, or growing tip, is a completely undifferentiated meristematic tissue found in the buds and growing tips of roots in plants. function – to begin growth of new cells in young seedlings at the tips of roots and shoots (forming buds, among other things).

Apical meristems are composed of several layers. The number of layers varies according to plant type. In general the outermost layer is called the tunica while the innermost layers are the corpus.

Shoot apical meristem

is the site of most of the embryogenesis in flowering plants. It is where the first indications that flower development has been evoked are manifested.

Root apical meristem

root apical meristem produces cells in two directions It is covered by the root cap, which protects the apical meristem from the rocks, dirt and pathogens.

Intercalary meristem

occur only in monocot (particularly grass) stems at the base of nodes and leaf blades. Intercalary meristems are capable of cell division and allow for rapid growth and regrowth of many monocots.

Floral meristem

When plants begin the developmental process known as flowering, the shoot apical meristem is transformed into an inflorescence meristem which goes on to produce the floral meristem which produces the familiar sepals, petals, stamens, and carpels of the flower.

Fig. 2. Expression pattern of two floral organ identity genes

Apical meristems may differentiate into three kinds of primary meristem: Protoderm - lies around the outside of the stem and develops into the epidermis. Procambium - lies just inside of the protoderm and develops into primary xylem and primary phloem. It also produces the vascular cambium, a secondary meristem. Ground meristem develops into the pith. It produces the cork cambium, another secondary meristem.

There are two types of secondary meristems, these are also called the lateral meristems because they surround the established stem of a plant and cause it to grow laterally (i.e. larger in diameter).

Vascular cambium - produces secondary xylem and secondary phloem, this is a process which may continue throughout the life of the plant. This is what gives rise to wood in plants. Such plants are called arborescent. This does not occur in plants which do not go through secondary growth (known as herbaceous plants). Cork cambium - gives rise to the bark of a tree.

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