Apical Meristem: Meaning and Function

Meristems are a type of tissue found in plants and are primarily made of undifferentiated cells that are capable of cell division. There are three types of meristematic tissue on the basis of positions and these are as follows:

  • Apical meristem
  • Basal / intercalary meristem
  • Lateral meristem

In this article, we shall explore the features and characteristics of the apical meristem.

What is the Apical Meristem?

As the name suggests, “apical” means (something) pertaining to the apex. In this case, it refers to the shoot and root “tips” of the plant. Moreover, this type of meristem is completely undifferentiated and responsible for lateral growth.

What is the Function of the Apical Meristem?

Unlike undifferentiated plant cells, differentiated plant cells generally cannot divide or even produce different types of cells. However, plants need to grow in order to survive. This function is fulfilled by the meristem. Among the other types of meristem, apical meristems are specialized zones of growth found at the tips of plants. These are responsible for the extension of shoots and roots and are also responsible for the primary plant body.

Types of Apical Meristem

There are two types of apical meristem tissue: Shoot apical meristem (SAM) and root apical meristem (RAM):

SAM or shoot apical meristem pertains to the region of the shoot that contains meristematic cells. It generates above-ground aerial organs of higher plants. These include stems, leaves, flowers, and fruits.

RAM, root apical meristem or root apex is the region at the root’s tip, where all the cells are capable of repeated division. Also, it is the region from where all the primary root tissues are derived.

Read More: Meristematic Tissue – Characteristics and Types of Meristematic Tissue

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