Plants have two types of meristems: apical and lateral. Apical meristems are located at the tips of stems and roots, while lateral meristems are found on the sides of stems and roots. Each type of meristem has a different role in plant growth. Apical meristems produce new cells to create the plant’s stem and root, while lateral meristems produce new cells that add width to the stem and root. This difference is what allows plants to grow in both directions: upward (height) and outward (width). In this post, we’ll take a closer look at each type of meristem and explore how they contribute to plant growth.
What is Apical Meristem?
Apical meristems are regions of cells at the tips of plant organs, such as the roots and stems, that are capable of cell division. The cells of the apical meristem divide to produce new cells that elongate the organ and add to its girth.
- As a result, apical meristems are responsible for plant growth. Apical meristems are typically small, consisting of just a few hundred cells. However, they play a vital role in plant development, and their importance was first recognized in the 19th century by German botanist Hugo von Mohl.
- Apical meristems are present in all plants, from simple mosses to towering trees. In most plants, they are located at the tips of the roots and stems. Some plants also have apical meristems in their leaves, flowers, and fruit.
- Apical meristems are maintained throughout the plant’s life by a small number of stem cells. These stem cells divide regularly to replenish the population of dividing cells in the apical meristem. As a result, apical meristems can produce new tissues indefinitely, ensuring that plants can continue to grow throughout their lifetime.
What is Lateral Meristem?
Lateral meristem is a type of plant tissue that helps the plant to grow in width. Lateral meristems are located in the cortex and vascular cambium of a plant, and they are responsible for cell division in these tissues. Lateral meristems can be found in both woody and herbaceous plants. Lateral meristem helps the plant to increase its diameter by increasing the number of cells in the cortex and vascular cambium. Lateral meristem also helps to replace any dead or damaged cells in these tissues. Lateral meristem is an essential type of tissue for plant growth and development.
Differences between Apical Meristem and Lateral Meristem
Apical meristem is the tissue at the tips of roots and shoots that is responsible for plant growth. This tissue consists of actively dividing cells that increase the length of the plant. In contrast, the lateral meristem is tissue located along the sides of stems and roots that increase the width of the plant. This tissue also consists of dividing cells, but they are arranged in a different way than those in the apical meristem. As a result, lateral meristem leads to an increase in the diameter of the plant, rather than its length. While both types of meristem are essential for plant growth, they each serve a unique purpose.
So what exactly is the difference between apical meristem and lateral meristem? The main distinction is that apical meristem produces new cells at the tips of shoots and roots, while lateral meristem produces new cells along the sides of shoots and roots. This means that apical meristems are responsible for primary growth, while lateral meristems are responsible for secondary growth. We hope this article has helped you to understand the differences between these two types of plant tissue and their roles in growth.