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Plant Structure, Function, and Use

Plant Structures

What are meristems?

Meristems (from the Greek term meristos, meaning “divided”) are unspecialized cells that divide and generate new cells and tissues. Apical meristems, found at the tips of all roots and stems, are responsible for a plant’s primary growth, in which the root divides and produces cells inwardly and outwardly. The cells that are produced inwardly grow backward up the root, while the cells that are produced outwardly grow forward in the direction the root is growing (and create what is called a root cap). The vascular cambium and cork cambium are the meristems responsible for a plant’s secondary growth.



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