5: Plant Anatomy - Biology

5: Plant Anatomy - Biology

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By Dr. Lori Spindler, Department of Biology, University of Pennsylvania, CC-BY-NC 4.0.

Each student group should identify the part of the plant for around 5 fruits/vegetables. This small number will allow ample time for students to closely observe each specimen and debate within their group what type of plant part it is and what evidence they used to make their decision.

  • 5.1: Plants Anatomy Protocol
    Humans began domesticating plants over 12,000 years ago. During domestication, plants (and animals) undergo evolution by selection as farmers choose which individuals in the population will reproduce. When this human preference is the environment that exerts a selective force on a population, we call this selection "artificial selection". By only allowing plants with traits we enjoy—like larger and sweeter fruits—to reproduce, humans, like nature, have caused many changes in plant form.
  • 5.2: Plant Anatomy Teacher's Preparation Notes
    Each part of a plant has characteristic features that students can use for identification. Many plant parts have been modified by natural selection or artificial selection and no longer serve their original purpose but still resemble the original parts in most ways and can be identified with careful observation.

Plant Anatomy and Physiology


Plant anatomy is the study of the tissue and cell structure of plant organs. The term anatomy, as applied to plants, generally deals with structures that are observed under a high-powered light microscope or electron microscope. (In zoology, the term anatomy refers to the study of internal organs histology is the study of cells and tissues of animals.) Plant physiology is the study of metabolic processes in plants. A limited explanation of plant physiology is presented, dealing specifically with photosynthesis. Physiology and anatomy are tightly correlated, as cell and tissue structure has changed with respect to the evolution of novel functional mechanisms.

Plant Anatomy – Biology 313

Comprehensive studies of the internal structure of vascular plants, focusing mainly on the anatomy of flowering plants. The course emphasizes structure-function relationships and anatomical adaptations of plants to various environmental conditions.

Date Day Lect/Lab Lecture/Laboratory Topic
1/15 T Lect Introduction
1/16 W Lab Microscopy, Microtechnique & 3 Tissue Systems (1)
1/17 TH Lect No formal class
1/22 T Lect The Plant Cell
1/23 W Lab The Plant Cell: I & II (2, 3)
1/24 TH Lect The Plant Cell The Cell Wall
1/29 T Lect The Cell Wall Parenchyma
1/30 W No formal class – University-wide Conference Day
1/31 TH Lab Simple Tissues I (4)
2/5 T Lect Parenchyma Collenchyma
2/6 W Lecture & Lab Exam 1
2/7 TH Lect Collenchyma Sclerenchyma
2/12 T Lect Sclerenchyma Primary Xylem
2/13 T Lect Simple Tissues II (5) Primary Xylem (6)
2/14 TH Lect Primary Xylem Secondary Xylem
2/19 T Lect Secondary Xylem Primary Phloem
2/20 W Lab Secondary Xylem (7)Â Phloem (8)
2/21 TH Lect Secondary Phloem
2/26 T Lect The Vascular Cambium
2/27 W Lab The Vascular Cambium & The Periderm (9)
2/28 TH Lect The Vascular Cambium Periderm
3/5 T Lect Periderm The Epidermis
3/6 W Lecture & Lab Exam 2
3/7 TH Lect The Epidermis Secretory Cells, Tissues, & Structures
3/12 T Midterm Break
3/13 W Midterm Break
3/14 TH Midterm Break
3/19 T Lect Roots
3/20 W Lab The Epidermis (10) Secretory Structures (11) The Root (12)
3/21 TH Lect Roots
3/26 T Lect Stems
3/27 W Lab The Root (12) The Stem (13)
3/28 TH Lect Stems
4/2 T Lab Leaves
4/3 W Lecture & Lab Exam 3
4/9 T Lect Flowers
4/10 W Lab The Leaf (14)
4/11 TH Undergraduate Research Symposium
4/16 T Lect Flowers
4/17 W Lab The Flower (15)
4/18 TH Lect Fruits
4/23 T Lect Seeds
4/24 W Lab Work on projects
4/25 TH Lect Work on projects
4/30 T Lect Ecological Plant Anatomy
5/1 W Lab Seeds and Fruits (16) Paleobotany & Fossil Plant Anatomy (17)
5/2 TH Lect Ecological Plant Anatomy
5/7 T Lect Group Presentations
5/13 M Lecture & Lab Exam 4 (7:30-9:20 am)

Instructor: Dr. Jeffrey M. Osborn
Magruder Hall 251
Office Hrs: Mon: 9:00 am – 10:30 am
Thurs: 10:30 am – 12:00 pm
& by appointment
Lecture: 9:00 10:20 am T H, Magruder Hall 111
Laboratory: 8:30 11:20 am – W, Magruder Hall 104
Section 62 – 2:30 pm – 5:20 pm, Tuesday, Magruder Hall 117
Text: Integrative Plant Anatomy, by William C. Dickison, 2000. (Harcourt Academic Press, San Diego, CA)
Lab Manual: Plant Anatomy: Laboratory Exercises for Biology 313, by Jeffrey M.Osborn (2001).
Biology Seminars: The Truman Biology discipline hosts a weekly Biology Seminar Series in which professional biologists from around the state and country visit our campus to present up-to-date research seminars. Biologists, whose research interests are specialized in a wide variety of sub disciplines, including Botany, will present talks over the course of the semester. You are invited and encouraged to attend all seminars. The schedule will be posted in the laboratory, and regular announcements will be made in class to inform you of the weekly talks.
Bulletin Boards: Botany “Bulletin Board” is located in Science Hall outside of the Truman Herbarium (room 245). Botanically relevant information is posted on this board and might be of interest to you (e.g., Botany Courses at Truman, Fellowships, Job Announcements, Graduate Schools, Upcoming Meetings, etc.).

    Lecture – Four examinations will be taken during the course, and each of these will principally cover information presented since the previous exam. The format of all exams will be diverse, consisting of several types of questions (e.g., objective, short answer and long answer).

Laboratory – Four examinations will be taken during the course, and each of these will principally cover information presented since the previous exam. Lab exams will cover the same material as that on lecture exams and will be practical in nature they will be taken immediately before each lecture exam. Each student will also employ a variety of techniques throughout the duration of the semester in the preparation of a research project. The types of projects available will be discussed later in the semester. In addition, each student will be asked to keep and turn in a laboratory notebook in which detailed drawings of the various plant cells, tissues, and organs observed in the course should be archived.

Make-up exams and quizzes – Make-ups will not be given unless the absence is due to either some type of an emergency or an officially approved university activity and documented evidence is presented. For an emergency situation, please contact the instructor as soon after the occurrence as possible, preferably within 24 hours of the scheduled exam. As for absences due to university activities, the instructor must be notified prior to the exam.

Graduate students – Graduate students enrolled in either Biology 518 or 618 will be expected to prepare a research paper in addition to the other course requirements. Students should meet with the instructor early in the semester to discuss the nature of the paper and potential topics. Graduate students will also be expected to perform at a ‘higher’ level on the lecture exams.

Lab 05 Plant Anatomy Lab Report

b. Root: Anchor a plant and extract nutrients and water from the soil so the plant can grow.

c. Leaves: Take in sunlight and convert it to energy so that the flowers can bloom and be pollinated, then develop seeds for the next generation of plants.



Label the following diagram.

1. Apical meristem

  1. Describe the changes in cell size and structure in the stem tip. Begin at the youngest cells at the apex and continue to the xylem cells.

The smaller cell at the tip grows and become larger. At the same time their cell wall becomes thicker. Simultaneously when it is grown, it is pushed aside and a new cell is formed at the tip or apical meristem. This continues to the xylem cells.

  1. The meristems of plants continue to grow throughout their lifetime this is an example of indeterminate growth. Imagine a 100-year old oak tree, with active meristems producing new buds, leaves, and stems each year. Contrast this with the growth pattern of humans. Humans growth stops after certain age, division of cells stills occurs but it is for repair and maintenance and not for growth. In contrast plants have indeterminate growth which means that cell division continues always and growth also occurs for indefinite period.


Xylem, because the distinct size of xylem vessels and tracheids

2. What types of cells provide support for the stem? Where are these cells

located in the stem? Collenchyma cells are elongated cells with unevenly-thickened walls. They provide structural support, mainly to the stem and leaves. And they are found mainly in the cortex of stems and in leaves.

For the cells described in Question 2 above, how does their observed structure relate to their function of support? Sclerenchyma have thick walls purely purposed towards rigid support for the phloem cells. The collenchyma cells have cell walls not quite as thick, permitting strength with flexibility. They are strong and pliable so as to not snap in unfavorable conditions such as heavy winds.

What is the function of the phloem? What is the function of the xylem? Phloem is a vascular tissue that transports photosynthetic products. Xylem is a vascular tissue that transports water and minerals.

The pith and the cortex are made up of parenchyma cells. Describe the many functions of these cells. Support, photosynthesis, storage of materials, lateral transport.

1. endodermis

2. pericycle

3. phloem

4. protoxylem

5. stele

6. epidermis

7. passage cells

1. epidermis

2. pith (ground tissue)

3. phloem

4. vascular cambium

5. xylem

6. pericycle

7. pericycle

8. phloem

9. cambium

10. metaxylem

Sketch the two types of roots below: TAPROOT FIBROUS ROOT

Label the diagram of the dicot cross section of the buttercup (Ranunculus) root below.

1. epidermis

2. cortex

3. endodermis

4. pericycle

5. pith

6. xylem

7. phloem

8. root hairs

Their function is to increase the area available for water absorption and that of minerals and other nutrients.

Which root system, taproot or fibrous root, do you think absorbs water more efficiently? Fibrous roots Why? Because with their thickly branching system and more numerous roots, have more surface area and more root hairs than taproot systems do to take in food and water

Which root system is a more effective anchor? Taproot Why? Because taproots anchor plants deeply, helping to prevent the wind from blowing them over and stabilizing plants that grow in areas of shifting soils such as beaches or sand dunes..

Which root system is more effective for storage? Taproot Why? Taproots are often modified for food storage.

Name two structures or cells that are found in roots but not in stems: Root cap and endodermis

If you observed carefully, you may have noted that the epidermis of the root lacks a cuticle. Explain why this is an advantage to the root. It is an advantage because cuticle prevents absorption, and without the cuticle they can absorb water and nutrients freely from the soil.

What is the function of the endodermis? The endodermis regulates the materials that enter and exit from the vascular tissue, it is primarily used to aid in water retention, forcing water into the vascular tissue and preventing water from returning to the soil.

Why is this important to the success of land plants? Endodermis regulates transport of materials, which otherwise would move indiscriminately through the plant. Absorption occurs only in roots thus, endodermis provides an important control in the plant's environment.

Palisade mesophyll tissue Sub stomatal chamber

Lower epidermis Spongy mesophy ll

Palisade Spongy parenchyma

Label the structures and tissues of the cross section of the dicot leaf.

Label the structures and tissues of the cross section of the corn leaf.

Diagram and label a small portion of the leaf epidermis showing the guard cells under hypotonic (distilled water) and hypertonic (5% salt, NaCl) conditions.

Stomata (Hypotonic) Stomata (Hypertonic)


Label the following diagram:

How old is the basswood stem that you are examining?

1. cork cambium

2. cork

3. bark

4. annual growth rings

5. vascular cambium

6. late wood

7. xylem

8. early wood

9. pith

The stem is 3 years old as three rings of secondary xylem can be seen between the pith layer and the bark layer. The number of concentric rings indicates the age of the stem.

What function might the vascular rays serve? Vascular rays are a band of parenchymatous cells that extend from the cambium to the xylem and phloem. Thus the function of the vascular rays might be to transport water and other nutritive substances across the stem.

Which structures of woody stems are included in the bark? The bark is made up of the cork, cork cambium, secondary phloem and the vascular cambium. The bark forms the outermost layer of a stem.

  1. Use Table 5.2 to describe the structure and function of the cell types seen in this lab. Indicate the location of these structures in the various plant organs examined.Cell Type Structure Function Plant Organ(s) Epidermis Layer of elongated, compactly arrange living cells without intercellular spaces. Their outer walls are cutinized.

Protects against water loss, regulates gas exchange, secretes metabolic compounds, and absorbs water and mineral nutrients.

Entire surface of aerial parts

Parenchyma Cells are thin-walled cells that make up the inside of many non-woody plant structures including stems, roots, and leaves. Large central vacuoles.

Storage, photosynthesis, and as the bulk of ground and vascular tissues.

Collenchyma Elongated cells with irregularly thick cell walls having a large central vacuole, chloroplasts are present. Simple permanent tissue of nonlignified living cells.

Mechanical support to young dicot stem and leaves. Prevents tearing of leaves. Allows growth and elongation of organs. Take part in photosynthesis.

Below the epidermis in the petiole, leaves, and stems.

Sclerenchyma Strong, thick cells that provide most of the support in a plant. Cell cavities are narrow. The wall made up of cellulose or lignin.

Allows plant organs to tolerate bending, compression and pull by the environmental factor. Provides rigidity to leaves.

Top elongation and hard surfaces like bark and seed coating.

Tracheids Elongated cells in the xylem of vascular plants

Transport of water and mineral salts. Present as a type of xylem of a plant.

Vessels Closed at either end. Short, wide and thick ended cells. The end walls of vessels are transverse or oblique.

Help in quick movement of water. Provide mechanical support. Conduction of organic food

Xylem vessel is located in roots, stems and leaves of the plant.

Sieve tubes Elongated tubular conducting channels of phloem.

Transport of carbohydrates, primarily sucrose, in the plant

Endodermis Layer of cells that borders the cortex of a root.

Regulate the flow of fluid both inward and outward.

Endodermis present inner side of epidermis and inner boundary of cortex is single layered Primary Meristems

Derived directly from the meristem of the embryo, depending upon their position. like as apical, intercalary and lateral.

Help in growth and elongation, protection of young buds and leaves

Cambium Have phloem both on the outer and inner side of xylem and all are three lie on the same radius.

Water and food conduction Found on the both outer and inner sides of xylem.

Guard Cells Bean or kidney shaped in most plants and dumb bell shaped in grasses. Inner wall of guard cells are thick while outer ones are thin.

Regulate the rate of transpiration by opening and closing the stomata..

Periderm Secondary protective tissue that replaces the epidermis during growth in thickness of stems and roots of gymnosperms and dicotyledons.

Protect stems and roots. Outermost layers of stems and roots of woody plants.

Ray parenchyma made up of elongated cells. Storage, conductive and secretory systems of woody plants. Maintain continuity between the phloem and xylem facilitating the radial and lateral transport of materials.

Occur in the pith region, in wood rays, also occur within the xylem and phloem of vascular bundles

Watch the video: Plant Anatomy and Physiology (January 2023).