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12: Stems

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    The shoot of a plant is responsible for two major functions: photosynthesis and reproduction. In most plants, the leaves carry out photosynthesis, while the stems provide stability to elevate those leaves above potential competition. In annual plants, whose entire life cycle from germinate to death is completed in a single year, the epidermis on the stem is often photosynthetic, as well. All stems undergo primary growth. In gymnosperms and many angiosperms, stems will transition into secondary growth to form woody tissues.

    • 12.1: Primary Growth
      Tissues in the shoot are derived from the shoot apical meristem (SAM). The SAM produces three primary meristems, which produce the primary tissues.
    • 12.2: Secondary Growth
      Gymnosperms and some eudicots are capable of secondary growth. This type of growth occurs by the production of secondary meristems and secondary tissues, which result in lateral growth, and the formation of wood and bark.
    • 12.3: Woody Shoot Structures
      Woody shoots have several different types of scars, which can be used to make inferences about the plant's age and identity.
    • 12.4: Modified Shoots
      Some stems and leaves have adapted for a function other than what is typical.

    This page titled 12: Stems is shared under a CC BY-NC 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Maria Morrow (ASCCC Open Educational Resources Initiative) .

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