This is my third post on plant knowledge from a series of five all detailing different the parts of plants that you may or may not know, using all the notes I wrote and collected when I did my RHS course.
Let me know what you think – interesting, boring or just indifferent I’d really like to know.
As an extra challenge I’m going to see if I can get each post under 500 words. Don’t count me though 😉
Part Three – Plant Tissues
Okay, so this was the point in my studies that began to question what this course was about. Away went the pretty pictures of flowers and along came some rather structured diagrams of the internal systems of plants.
However before I tell you what tissue it, it might be better to explain why there is a point to understanding it.
The Why’s of Tissue
At the time I didn’t take much notice because those diagrams threw me into old school panic but the short and curlies of it are that plant tissue allows for the following to happen:
- Plant to grow and stay upright – because they don’t have a skeleton
- Plants to be reproduced for all sorts of reasons from creating a new hybrid to investigating what makes some plants frost hardier than others
- Tissues can be used to for medicinal purposes, especially in creating medicines, often referred to as tissue culture.
- It allows the nutrients and water to flow around the plant giving it all the feed it needs in all the right places
Fear not, this isn’t a science lesson but rather an interesting breakdown of what plant tissue is.
Just like every living thing on the planet plants are made up of many cells. Cells that are grouped together are called tissues.
Luckily for us to remember, plants only have two main types of cell tissue used solely for the purpose of transporting nutrients and water around, called vascular tissues:
- Xylem = Found in the central part of the cells. Transports minerals, salts and water from the roots (soil) into the vascular system, to all parts of the plant – upwards, even against gravity due to capillary actions of water and the surface of the xylem cells. In other words it’s like a 1970’s lava lamp action but without the heat.
- Phloem = Transports organic substances found in leaves down to all parts pf the plant. The Phloem is found on the inside of the vascular bundles.
Plants have three main types of tissues. They are grouped into different types. Each group is made up of cells that share the same features in common, which is why the two above are grouped under transportation set of tissues.
The other two are:
- Apical meristems tissues – found at every the tip of every root and shoot on the plant (this is where most cultural tissue can be taken) and from where rapid growth takes place
- Ground tissues – these manufacture and store food (in the roots), as well as give the plant extra support in the ground. This set of tissues are sometimes grouped under the vascular tissue gang.
I really struggled with the plant structure lessons, however it’s more than fascinating to know how complex all plants (all living things in fact) are designed and operate.
In fact diagrams are (for me personally) the best way of understanding the words they describe. Even better would be to see the cells and tissues under a microscope, so if you get the chance – have a go 🙂
Cover photo courtesy of Eric Skiff