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Support system  [ Botany ]
Synonym: Plant's supportive system

Dictionary of botanic terminology - index of names

  The structural support system of plants is formed by the cell walls that cumulatively acts like the skeletal system of animals, providing a rigid or flexible  and strong support against gravity.  
The cell wall in plants is a rigid, strong and more or less flexible structure located outside the plasma membrane of most plant cells. It is primarily made of structural carbohydrates such as cellulose.
Cell wall provide mechanical support. They often contain secondary metabolites, suberin or lignin. In particular the supportive function is acted  by specialized thick walled cell (e.g. tracheids, fibre cells, sclereids etc.) localized in many tissues (e.g. xylem) and forming the various organ of plants (e.g. stems, roots and leaves).

In most vascular plants the stem is the major aerial support structure, it holds up the plant into the air against gravity and provides a pathway for fluid transport between the shoot and the root. Roots instead provide the unseen underground support system, both structurally, anchoring the plant to prevent it falling, and by absorbing nutrients and moisture from the soil which are transported through the trunk and into the crown. The support in both aerial and underground part of plants is furnished by the cell walls:


Left: Cylindropuntia timber a supporting structure formed by lignified vascular bundles (primary xylem)








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