Prepared by

Brenda Leady, University of Toledo

Copyright (c) The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. Permission required for reproduction or display.


Overview of Plant Structure
1. Two major regions of flowering plants a) Root system anchor plants in the ground absorb water and minerals store excess sugar transport water, minerals, sugar, hormones produce hormones b) Shoot system - consists of stems, leaves, buds, flowers, fruits for photosynthesis transport of materials between leaves, flowers, fruits, and roots reproduction hormone synthesis 2. Two groups of flowering plants a) Monocot - grasses, lilies, orchids b) Dicot - deciduous trees and bushes



Alternation of generations 

Gametophyte (haploid)
Microscopic in flowering plants Produce gametes by mitosis 

Sporophyte (diploid)
Large ³plant´ in flowering plants Produces spores by meiosis




embryo is a sporophyte that lies dormant within a seed with a supply of stored food and a seed coat  May lay dormant for long periods until conditions are favorable  Embryo grows into seedling and then mature plant


Growth ± increase in size or weight  Development ± increase in number or organs, accompanied by differentiation  Meristem ± region of undifferentiated cells producing new tissues by cell division  Basic plant organs ± roots, stems, and leaves ± contain several types of tissues 



Roots ± provide anchorage in the soil and foster efficient uptake of water and minerals  Stem ± produce leaves and branches and bear the reproductive structures  Leaves ± foliage leaves specialized for photosynthesis 


Radicle, embryonic root, first organ to emerge from germinating seed
Provides water and minerals for growth 

Hypocotyl produces cotyledons
Eudicots ± 2 seed leaves Monocots ± 1 seed leaf 

Endosperm provides food for early embryo growth

Plant Growth and Development
1. Two categories of cells a) meristem cells - embryonic, undifferentiated, capable of cell division b) differentiated cells - are specialized in structure and function, and usually don¶t divide Meristem cells: apical meristems - located at the ends of roots and shoots lateral meristems or cambia - form cylinders that run parallel to the long axis of roots and stems 2. Two forms of plant growth a) Primary growth - occurs through mitotic cell division of apical meristem cells by differentiation of the resulting daughter cells; increase in length b) Secondary growth - occurs through mitotic cell division of lateral meristem cells, and differentiation of their daughter cells; increase in diameter



Shoot apical meristem (SAM)
Rapidly dividing cells at shoot apices Produces shoot system 

Stems, leaves and other organ systems 

Root apical meristem (RAM)
Also rapidly dividing cells Produces root system 

Roots and root branches


Vegetative growth
Production of tissues by SAM and RAM and growth of mature plant  Plant shoots produce vegetative buds ± miniature shoots having a dormant SAM  Under favorable conditions, buds produce new stems and leaves  Indeterminate growth ± SAMs continuously produce new stem tissue and leaves as long as conditions are favorable 


Reproductive development
Mature plants produce flowers, seeds and fruits  Flowers produced by determinate growth ± growth of limited duration  Flower tissues enclose and protect tiny male and female gametophytes  Fruits enclose seeds and function in seed dispersal 


Seed-to-seed lifetime
Annuals ± plants that die after producing seeds during their first year of life; e.g. corn  Biennials ± plants that do not reproduce the first year but may the following year  Perennials ± plants that live for more than 2 years, often producing seed each year after maturity 


1) Distinctive architecture 

2 features

Upper, apical pole and a lower, basal pole 

SAM at upper pole, RAM at basal pole Apical-basal polarity Originates during embryo development Stem and root cylindrical Leaves and flower parts in whorls or spirals


Radial symmetry 



2) Primary meristems
SAM and RAM produce additional meristematic tissue that increases plant length and produces new organs  Primary meristems produce primary tissues and organs of diverse types 


SAM and RAM both produce
Protoderm ± generates dermal tissue Procambium ± produces vascular tissues Ground meristem ± produces ground tissues defined by location

Plant cell specialization and tissue development do not depend much on the lineage of a cell or tissue  Chemical influences are much more important 



Plant Tissues and Cell Types
1. Three tissue systems

a) dermal tissue - covers the outer surface of the plant body b) ground tissue system - consists of all the non-dermal and nonvascular tissues c) vascular tissue - transports water, minerals, sugars, and plant hormones a. Dermal tissue system Two types: a) epidermis - outermost layer cuticle - cells secreted by epidermal cells that reduces evaporation of water from the plant b) periderm - replaces the epidermal tissue on the roots and stems of woody plants as they age; composed of cork cells (form the protective outer layer of the bark of trees, and woody shrubs, and the woody covering of their roots).


b. Ground tissue system - makes up the bulk of a young plant a) Parenchyma - thin-walled cells that typically carry most of the metabolic products of plants; for photosynthesis; storage of sugars and starches, and secretion of hormones b) Collenchyma - consists of elongated, polygonal cells; alive at maturity but cannot divide c) Sclerenchyma - consists of cells with thick, hardened secondary walls, reinforced with a stiffening substance called lignin; support and strengthen the plant body

Parenchyma cells Layer of epidermal cells showing the stomata


Collenchyma cells

Sclerenchyma cells


c. Vascular tissue system a) Xylem b) Phloem Xylem - conducts water and minerals from roots to shoots in tubes that are made from one of 2 types of cells: tracheids and vessel elements


Phloem - transports sugars, amino acids, and hormones


Stem development and structure  

New primary stem tissues arise by the cell division activities of primary meristems located near the bases of SAMs Epidermis develops at the stem surface
Produces a waxy cuticle (reduces water loss)

Cortex ± composed of parenchyma tissue
Composed of only one cell type, parenchyma cells Stores starch in plastids 

Stem parenchyma also has the ability to undergo cell division (meristematic capacity) to heal damage

Stems also contain
Collenchyma tissue composed of collenchyma cells Sclerechyma tissue composed of fibers and sclerids Vascular tissue made of xylem and phloem arranged in vascular bundles
Ring in eudicots  Scattered in monocots 


X-section of a dicot stem

X-section of a monocot stem


Leaf development and structure 

Young leaves produced at the side of SAMs in leaf primordia Flattening expands surface area for light collection Being thin helps shed excess heat Bilaterally symmetrical Upper adaxial (stem facing) side
Pallisade parenchyma absorbs sunlight efficiently

Lower abaxial (away from stem) side
More stomata Spongy parenchyma has air spaces to foster gas exchange



Root development and structure
Eudicots ± taproot system with a main root that produces branch roots  Monocots ± fibrous root system with multiple roots  Adventitious roots ± produced on the surface of stems of monocots and eudicots 


3) Ever-young stem cells
Plant meristems include stem cells  Term stem cell used for plant meristem cells that remain undifferentiated but can produce new tissues  Plant stem cell divides to produce one cell that remains unspecialized and another cell that is capable of differentiating into various types of specialized cells 


Plant Shoot Apical Meristem Size Is Genetically Controlled  


Normal Arabidopsis SAM consists of several hundred stem cells organized into at least three distinct cell regions having different functions Central zone consists of stem cells that divide but remain undifferentiated Normal growth depends on maintaining normal size of central zone and SAM Central zone cells make CLAVATA3 that controls the size of the zone Loss of CLAVATA3 causes peripheral zone cells to become central zone cells

Shoot system 

Includes all of a plant¶s stems, branches and leaves Also produces flowers and fruits Phytomere ± shoot module
1. 2. 3. 4.

Stem node ± leaves emerge Internode ± between adjacent nodes Leaf Axillary meristem ± generate axillary buds for lateral shoots


Molecules that influence development at a site distinct for production  Auxin ± controls production of leaf primordia 

Accumulates in particular apical region increasing expansion gene expression 

Gibberellic acid ± produced by leaf primordia not producing KNOX
Stimulates cell division and cell enlargement so young leaves grow larger

Leaf adaptations 

Leaf form
Simple leaves ± only one blade, advantageous in shade by providing maximal light absorption Complex or compound leaves ± dissected into leaflets, common in hot environments for heat dissipation 

Leaf venation
Eudicot leaves have pinnate or palmate venation 

Netted veins provide more support to the leaf

Monocot leaves have parallel venation


Leaf surface features
Cuticle on epidermis helps avoid desiccation 

Filter UV radiation, reduce microbe and animal attack, and self-cleaning

Guard cells regulate stomatal opening and closing Trichomes offer protection from excessive light, ultraviolet radiation, extreme air temperature, or attack by herbivores


Elle and Associates Investigated the Cost to Datura wrightii of Producing Sticky Leaf Trichomes 

Some plants ³sticky´ ± have glandular trichomes Others ³velvety´ with similar nonglandular trichomes Sticky dominant to velvety Sticky trichomes may deter certain herbivores but may be costly when herbivores not present Hypothesized that sticky plants might produce fewer seeds than velvety plants, because plant photosynthetic products are diverted from reproduction Data supported the initial hypothesis

Modified leaves
Most leaves function primarily in photosynthesis  Can be modified for other roles  Tendrils  Tough scales that protect buds  Poinsetta ³petals´  Cactus spines 



Stem vascular tissue
Herbaceous plants produce mostly primary vascular tissues  Woody plants produce primary and secondary vascular tissue 

Woody plants begin as herbaceous seedling with only primary vascular systems


Primary vascular tissue  Primary xylem 

Unspecialized parenchyma cells Stiff fibers for structural support Tracheids and vessel elements conduct water and dissolved minerals (not living cells) 

Primary phloem
Transports organic compounds and certain minerals Sieve elements (living cells) Companion cells aid seive element metabolism Parenchyma cells Supportive fibers


Secondary vascular tissue  Secondary xylem ± wood  Secondary phloem ± inner bark  Bark has both outer bark (mostly dead cork cells) and inner bark (secondary phloem)  Secondary vascular tissues produced by two types of secondary 

Vascular cambium Cork cambium


Vascular cambium
Produces secondary xylem and secondary phloem Secondary xylem conducts most of a woody plant¶s water and minerals may function several years Usually only the current year¶s production of secondary phloem is active in food transport 

Cork cambium
Produces cork Cork cells dead when mature and layered with lignin and suberin



Modified stems
Rhizomes- underground stems  Potato tubers store food  Grass stems grow as rhizomes or stolons 


Modified Stems
1. Bulbs - consists of fleshy leaves attached to a small knoblike stem; e.g. onions, lilies, tulips 2. Corms - resembles bulbs but reveals no fleshy leaves; have a stem with a few papery, brown nonfunctional leaves, and adventitious roots below; e.g. gladioluses 3. Rhizomes - horizontal stems that grow underground, often close to the surface; e.g. perennial grasses, ferns 4. Runners and stolons - horizontal stems that grow along the surface of the ground; e.g. strawberry plants 5. Tubers - swollen tip of stolon due to accumulation of carbohydrates; e.g. potato 6. Tendrils - twine around supports and aid in climbing; e.g.peas, pumpkins 7. Cladophylls - flattened photosynthetic stems that resemble leaves; e.g. cacti


Root system adaptations
Eudicots have taproots  Monocots have fibrous roots  Other types of roots 

Prop roots Buttress roots Pneumatophores Fleshy storage roots ± carrots, sugar beets


Modified Roots
Taproot system - consists of a single large root with smaller branch roots Fibrous root system - composed of many smaller roots 1. Aerial roots - exhibited by plants that have roots extended out into the air (orchids); have epidermis that is several cells thick to reduce water loss; some maybe photosynthetic (vanilla orchid); prop roots grow down to the ground and brace the plants against wind (corn); some plants (ivy) produce roots from their stems to anchor the stems to tree trunks or brick wall 2. Pneumatophores - some plants growing in swamps produce spongy outgrowths called pneumatophores from their roots; these facilitate the oxygen supply to the roots beneath

3. Contractile roots - roots of some plants contract by spiraling to pull the plant a little deeper into the soil each year until they reach an area of relatively stable temperatures e.g. lilies, dandelions 4. Parasitic roots - certain plants (Cuscuta) that lack chlorophyll have stems that produce peglike roots called haustoria that penetrate the host plants around which they are twined; the haustoria establish contact with the conducting tissues and parasitize their their host 5. Food storage roots - some plants have roots that accumulate large quantities of carbohydrates; potatoes, carrots, beets, radishes, turnips 6. Water storage roots - some plants (Cucurbitaceae) produce water-storage roots 7. Buttress roots - certain species of fig and other tropical trees produce huge buttress roots toward the base of the trunk, which provide considerable stability


Root growth 

15 distinct regions of cellular specialization 3 major zones
1. 2. 3.

Apical meristem producing root and root cap Zone of elongation Zone of maturation with specialized cells


Root meristem and root cap
RAM contains stem cells, protoderm (epidermal tissues), ground meristem (ground tissue), and procambium (makes vascular tissue) Also produces protective root cap Root tips embedded in lubricating mucigel 

Zone of elongation
Cells extend by water uptake

Zone of maturation
Root cell differentiation and tissue specialization Identified by presence of root hairs (water and mineral uptake) absent from older regions


Epidermis of mature roots encloses region of ground parenchyma ± root cortex  Root cortex cells often rich in starch (food storage site)  Primary vascular system includes xylem enclosed by phloem  Pericycle encloses root vascular tissue 

Produces lateral (branch) roots 

Woody roots produce primary vascular tissues followed by secondary vascular tissues


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