21 Sep 2022


Strelitzia reginae: the structure and function of the three types of plant tissue

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The three main plant tissue types include vascular, dermal and ground tissues. The dermis of the plants serves the same function as the dermis on the animals. Its main role is protection of the internal tissues and organs of the plant. The dermis is the outermost layer of tissues and are divided into two parts, the epidermis which is the primary dermis and the periderm which is the secondary dermis. The epidermis has different types of cells types such as the bulliforms and the trichomes which mediate different functions of protection to the plant (Javelle, Vernoud, Rogowsky & Ingram, 2011) . The periderm is the layer that covers the epidermis. It is hard and protects the plant from harsh environmental conditions such as hot weather and also destruction by animals. The periderm has cells known as phellogen that ensure the continuity of the hard bark of the plant. Vascular tissues of the plant carry out the role of transport and nutrition for the plant. The tissues have roles similar to the circulatory system of animals. Vascular tissues transport water and minerals in different areas of the plant to ensure natural growth is sustainable. There are two main types of vascular tissues that mediate the function of transport. These are the xylem and the phloem. While the phloem transport nutrients and sugar from the areas of photosynthesis to the rest of the plant, the Xylem transports water and nutrients from the leaves and up the plant (Ye, 2002) . The vascular tissues are formed from the procambium in the apical meristems of the shoot and the roots of the plant. All the tissues of the plants that are neither vascular tissues nor dermal tissues are known as ground tissues. Ground tissues contain cells such as parenchymal cells, collenchymal cells and sclerenchymal cells (Albersheim, Darvill, Roberts, Sederoff, Staehelin, 2010) . The parenchyma cells carry out the roles of storage of food, photosynthesis, respiration and also aid in the growth and regeneration of the other cells of the plants. The sclerenchyma play the same role as the parenchyma and while the collenchyma support the role of the dermis. 

The leaves of the plant are attached to the plant by a petiole which is the main stalk of the leaf. The petiole carry outs roles such as support to the leaf and transport of minerals from the leaves to the rest of the plant. It also transport water and minerals from the stem into the leaf for photosynthesis. The petiole performs similar roles to the stem of the plant but are different in the aspect of anatomy. The stem provides support to the plant and also transports water and minerals from the roots to the leaves and sugar from the leaves to the rest of the plant. 

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Strelitzia reginae is a plant that has its origin in South Africa. It is commonly referred to as the bird of paradise due to its characteristic resemblance of a bird (Mele, Girardo & Pisignano, 2012) . The plant is adapted to warm weather, has big leaves and colorful flowers. 

The main objective of the experiment is to examine the structure of the petiole of Strelitzia reginae. A comparison of the structure and function of the three types of plant tissue found in the petiole of the plant respectively ground tissues, vascular tissues and the dermal tissues. 


Strelitzia reginae is a species of a plant that is a monozygotic angiosperm that is common in the subtropical area. The plant thrives best in the high humidity environment that have a relatively warm temperature. It has big green leaves that ensure the plant undergoes optimum photosynthesis to produce energy for its survival (Mele etsl., 2012) . The big leaves in the long hours of sunlight mean that the plants rate of transpiration of the plant is high. Therefore, it has to absorb a lot of water to suffice for the loss as a result of transpiration for long hours. The experiment made use of a cross section and a longitudinal section of the petiole of Strelitzia reginae. 

Plants have vascular tissues that transports water and minerals from the roots to the leaves and sugar from the leaves to the roots. This ensures the nutrition of the plant, its growth and development. The ground tissues have cells such as parenchyma, sclerenchyma and collenchyma that carry out the role of storage and photosynthesis. The cells mediate photosynthesis and thereafter store the sugar that will be exhausted by the plant in the near future. The dermal tissues of the plant carry out a protective role. This is through the hard covering of the plant known as the periderm on the cells of the epidermis that provide chemical protection to the plant. The cells of the dermis also provide support to the internal tissues of the plant to ensure optimum functioning. 

Figure 2 illustrates the different types of cells that are found in the dermis of the plant. The primary dermal tissues of the petiole of Strelitzia reginae are made up mainly of sclerenchyma cells. The sclerenchyma cells are made of secondary cell walls that mediate the role of support of the plant, protection and the storage of sugar and minerals that are available in the plant at any given time (Harwood, 2012) . The epidermis has also been illustrated in figure 2. This is the outermost layer of the dermis that separates the tissues of the plant from the external environment. It protects the plant from extreme environmental conditions such as the cold and heat, prevents excess loss of water through transpiration and regulates gas exchange in the plant through the stomata (Höfte, 2010) . In the longitudinal section of the Strelitzia reginae, the cuticle is the outermost layer that is visible. The cuticle is made up of cutin and wax that cover the leaf of the plant to prevent loss of water through transpiration (Lüttge & Pitman, 2012) . However, the stoma is not covered by the cuticle because its role is mediated by the guard cells that control the opening and closing of the stoma. The stomata and the guard cells coordinate to open or close depending with the demand of water and the environmental conditions. Ideally, they close when the plant cannot sustain itself with continued transpiration. 

Figure 3 illustrates the ground tissues that are found in petiole of Strelitzia reginae. The cross section reveals mesophyll cells that are not differentiated at the edge. This means that mesophyll cells are found at the edge of the petiole because it is a prime position for the absorption of sunlight for the purposes of photosynthesis of the plant. The cross section also reveals the fibers that are present in the petiole to make it firm and capable to provide support to the leaf so that it can spread out and have access to sufficient sunlight. The parenchyma cells are also present in the petiole of the plant to carry out their role of storage of nutrients and water because the plant grows in humid environment with high transpiration (Lüttge & Pitman, 2012) . The parenchyma cells in the petiole contain products of metabolism in the plant known as Ergastic substances. Example of these substances are fats, sugars and starch. These substances augment the parenchymal role of storage and support for other tissues of the plant. 

Figure 3 presents a prismatic crystal in the cell. The role of these crystals is to protect plants against plant predators. These substances tear up once ingested and they are likely to harm the oesophagus of the plant predator (Arber, 2010) . In Figure 3, one can also identify lipid bodies. They are spherical in shape and they lack a membrane. Lipid bodies are usually found in various cell types, specifically at the cytoplasm (Harwood, 2012) . These substances play a role in the transportation and storage of energy within the cell. In figure 3, one can also identify lipid bodies on the parenchyma. This can be explained by the fact that parenchyma cells are used for storage and thus the presence of these substances at the parenchyma (Lüttge & Pitman, 2012) . In figure 4, one can identify lacuna and aerenchyma tissue. Aerenchyma is a spongy tissue whose function in the plant cell is to allow the exchange of gases. The Aerenchyma tissue plays this role by forming air spaces and channels in the various plant parts. The lacuna offers a pathway for gas movement in the plant’s petiole, facilitating gaseous exchange. 

The transportation of sugars and water throughout the plant is the function of the plant’s vascular system. In figure 5, one can identify the vascular bundle in Strelitzia reginae petiole. The bundles are scattered with the xylem on the inward side while the phloem faces the outwards side. The xylem is sclerified and that is why it identifies as bright blue with thick walls. The xylem tissue utilizes lignin for purposes of support since it is a dead tissue (Schuetz, Smith & Ellis, 2012) . The function of xylem is to conduct water from the roots to the other parts of the plant. In figure 5, one can also identify the metaxylem and protoxylem vessels in the petiole of S. reginae . These structures are significantly larger than the tracheid or fibre present in the specimen. The metaxylem is larger because it is more mature and it contains more lignin deposits in the secondary wall matrix (Höfte, 2010) . This factor contributes in the movement of large volumes of water due to little resistance up the tree. This factor is essential for S. reginae as it is an angiosperm. Angiosperms incur higher transpiration rates and they have a high demand for energy due to their specialized reproductive systems (Johri, 2012) . The angiosperms have wider leaves, that increase the rate of transpiration and also photosynthesis, and thus they need a special system for water absorption. This is seen with larger surface area of leaves carrying out photosynthesis and hence an overall larger demand for water (Arber, 2010) . In figure 5, one can also identify spiral protoxylem vessels in the longitudinal section shown. Protoxylem is a structure that allows the plant to grow and expand while also playing a role of support to allow the movement of water. The petiole of Strelitzia reginae is wide and thus the plant has to ensure the transport of large quantities of water to the surrounding cells. In figure 5, one can also identify the companion cell and sieve tube. These two structures are part of the phloem tissue. The transportation of nutrients and sugars takes place in the sieve tube while the companion cell has a role of regulating the activities of the adjacent sieve tubes (Zimmermann & Milburn, 2012) . The phloem needs organelles to survive since it is alive when functional. The organelles are usually located in the companion cells (Knoblauch & Oparka, 2012) . The sieve tubes contain no organelles because they function by transporting nutrients and sugars and thus, if they had organelles, they could be moved minimizing their chances of survival. 

Creative Component 

Society Outside Vs Society Within 

The various cell types within an organism have unique roles to play which coordinate to ensure the survival of an organism. Each cell depends on the other for the general body function to be maintained. This is to mean that, a defect to a certain body cell is likely to affect the general performance of the body. Likewise, in the society, each individual has a role to play to ensure its continuity and maintenance. The role of individuals in the society are not as specific as those of the body cells but each one’s role is essential in the proper existence of the society. If an individual decides to indulge in crime at the society, this can affect the general peace of the community and also threaten the existence of the target group. The existence of the society thus requires the input of everyone to maintain its peaceful existence. Doctors exist in the society to treat the sick so that they can be able to function as usual. Likewise, in the plants, parenchyma cells have a role of regeneration to ensure the plant functions as normal. Police officers exist in the society to regulate its functioning and keep everything under control. Likewise, the nucleus in a plant has a role of regulating the activities of the cell. To compare this further, the role of a plant cell can be compared to people working at a factory as their roles are more specific than the role of individuals in a community. 

In a factory setting, the roles of individuals are more specific and those roles have to be executed for the processing of a product to be complete. For instance, in a computer production industry, every person has a role to ensure the installation of specific programs and computer body parts before the acquisition of the final product. If one person fails in installing a required program, every person working after that individual will have a hard time as there will be a missing section which is necessary for the successful completion of a task. The final product will be of poor quality if the mistake is not corrected and this means that the chances of selling the products will be low. Similarly, in a plant cell, the sclerenchyma cells provide support and thus ensure the proper functioning of the plant cell. If the sclerenchyma cells fail in their function, then the transportation of water and nutrients to various plant parts will be paralyzed causing the death of the plant. Another example is the mesophyll in the plant leaves which is necessary for light absorption, a factor that is essential for photosynthesis. The lack of mesophyll can paralyze the plant functions which can lead to its death. 

If a company decided to continuously sell broken or low quality goods, the market share would decrease and finally the company will retain no customers. Since the products will no longer be sold, the company will likely close down as there would be no need to produce any more products. The close down of the company will impact many people as most will lose their jobs and as a result, lose their source of income. This effect will spill to the family for lack of enough income and it will also affect the society at large. This example explains that businesses and society are interdependent for their existence and survival. Just like in this case, plant cells rely on each other. Roots have to continuously absorb water as the other parts of the plant also function to sustain its existence. 

Cells have very specific roles to support the existence and functioning of an organism unlike individuals in the society. Despite this slight difference, both require the support and actions of each element in their composition to survive. The society requires the input of its members while plants require the input of each cell. In all this, one identifies that team work is essential for existence and survival. 


Albersheim, P., Darvill, A., Roberts, K., Sederoff, R., & Staehelin, A. (2010).  Plant cell walls . Garland Science. 

Arber, A. (2010).  Water plants: a study of aquatic angiosperms . Cambridge University Press. 

Harwood, J. (2012).  Lipids in plants and microbes . Springer Science & Business Media. 

Höfte, H. (2010). Plant cell biology: How to pattern a wall.  Current Biology 20 (10), R450-R452. 

Javelle, M., Vernoud, V., Rogowsky, P. M., & Ingram, G. C. (2011). Epidermis: the formation and functions of a fundamental plant tissue.  New Phytologist 189 (1), 17-39. 

Johri, B. M. (Ed.). (2012).  Embryology of angiosperms . Springer Science & Business Media. 

Knoblauch, M., & Oparka, K. (2012). The structure of the phloem–still more questions than answers.  The Plant Journal 70 (1), 147-156. 

Lüttge, U., & Pitman, M. G. (Eds.). (2012).  Transport in Plants II: Part B Tissues and Organs  (Vol. 2). Springer Science & Business Media. 

Mele, E., Girardo, S., & Pisignano, D. (2012). Strelitzia reginae leaf as a natural template for anisotropic wetting and superhydrophobicity.  Langmuir 28 (11), 5312-5317. 

Schuetz, M., Smith, R., & Ellis, B. (2012). Xylem tissue specification, patterning, and differentiation mechanisms.  Journal of experimental botany 64 (1), 11-31. 

Ye, Z. H. (2002). Vascular tissue differentiation and pattern formation in plants.  Annual Review of Plant Biology 53 (1), 183-202. 

Zimmermann, M. H., & Milburn, J. A. (Eds.). (2012).  Transport in plants I: Phloem transport  (Vol. 1). Springer Science & Business Media. 

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