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For a better understanding of tissue organisation of roots, stems and leaves, it is convenient to study the transverse sections of the mature zones of these organs.
Look at Figure, it shows the transverse section of the sunflower root. The internal tissue organisation is as follows:
The outermost layer is epiblema. Many of the cells of epiblema protrude in the form of unicellular root hairs. The cortex consists of several layers of thin-walled parenchyma cells with intercellular spaces. The innermost layer of the cortex is called endodermis. It comprises a single layer of barrel-shaped cells without any intercellular spaces. The tangential, as well as radial walls of the endodermal cells, have a deposition of water-impermeable, waxy material suberin in the form of casparian strips. Next to endodermis lies a few layers of thick-walled parenchyomatous cells referred to as pericycle. Initiation of lateral roots and vascular cambium during the secondary growth takes place in these cells. The pith is small or inconspicuous. The parenchymatous cells which lie between the xylem and the phloem are called conjuctive tissue. There are usually two to four xylem and phloem patches. Later, a cambium ring develops between the xylem and phloem. All tissues on the innerside of the endodermis such as pericycle, vascular bundles and pith constitute the stele.
The anatomy of the monocot root is similar to the dicot root in many respects (Figure). It has epidermis, cortex, endodermis, pericycle, vascular bundles and pith. As compared to the dicot root which has fewer xylem bundles, there are usually more than six (polyarch) xylem bundles in the monocot root. Pith is large and well developed. Monocotyledonous roots do not undergo any secondary growth
The transverse section of a typical young dicotyledonous stem shows that the epidermis is the outermost protective layer of the stem (Figure). Covered with a thin layer of cuticle, it may bear trichomes and a few stomata. The cells arranged in multiple layers between epidermis and pericycle constitute the cortex. It consists of three sub-zones. The outer hypodermis consists of a few layers of collenchymatous cells just below the epidermis, which provide mechanical strength to the young stem. Cortical layers below hypodermis consist of rounded thin-walled parenchymatous cells with conspicuous intercellular spaces. The innermost layer of the cortex is called the endodermis. The cells of the endodermis are rich in starch grains and the layer is also referred to as the starch sheath. Pericycle is present on the inner side of the endodermis and above the phloem in the form of semi-lunar patches of sclerenchyma. In between the vascular bundles, there are a few layers of radially placed parenchymatous cells, which constitute medullary rays. A large number of vascular bundles are arranged in a ring; the ‘ring’ arrangement of vascular bundles is a characteristic of dicot stem. Each vascular bundle is conjoint, open, and with endarch protoxylem. A large number of rounded, parenchymatous cells with large intercellular spaces which occupy the central portion of the stem constitute the pith.
The monocot stem has a sclerenchymatous hypodermis, a large number of scattered vascular bundles, each surrounded by a sclerenchymatous bundle sheath, and a large, conspicuous parenchymatous ground tissue (Figure). Vascular bundles are conjoint and closed. Peripheral vascular bundles are generally smaller than the centrally located ones. The phloem parenchyma is absent, and water-containing cavities are present within the vascular bundles.
Dorsiventral (Dicotyledonous) Leaf
The vertical section of a dorsiventral leaf through the lamina shows three main parts, namely, epidermis, mesophyll and vascular system. The epidermis which covers both the upper surface (adaxial epidermis) and lower surface (abaxial epidermis) of the leaf has a conspicuous cuticle. The abaxial epidermis generally bears more stomata than the adaxial epidermis. The latter may even lack stomata. The tissue between the upper and the lower epidermis is called the mesophyll. Mesophyll, which possesses chloroplasts and carries out photosynthesis, is made up of parenchyma. It has two types of cells – the palisade parenchyma and the spongy parenchyma. The adaxially placed palisade parenchyma is made up of elongated cells, which are arranged vertically and parallel to each other. The oval or round and loosely arranged spongy parenchyma is situated below the palisade cells and extends to the lower epidermis.
There are numerous large spaces and air cavities between these cells. Vascular system includes vascular bundles, which can be seen in the veins and the midrib. The size of the vascular bundles is dependent on the size of the veins. The veins vary in thickness in the reticulate venation of the dicot leaves. The vascular bundles are surrounded by a layer of thick-walled bundle sheath cells. Look at Figure and find the
position of xylem in the vascular bundle.
Isobilateral (Monocotyledonous) Leaf
The anatomy of isobilateral leaf is similar to that of the dorsiventral leaf in many ways. It shows the following characteristic differences. In an isobilateral leaf, the stomata are present on both the surfaces of the epidermis; and the mesophyll is not differentiated into palisade and spongy parenchyma (Figure).
In grasses, certain adaxial epidermal cells along the veins modify themselves into large, empty, colourless cells. These are called bulliform cells. When the bulliform cells in the leaves have absorbed water and are turgid, the leaf surface is exposed. When they are flaccid due to water stress, they make the leaves curl inwards to minimise water loss.
The parallel venation in monocot leaves is reflected in the near similar sizes of vascular bundles (except in main veins) as seen in vertical sections of the leaves.