Difference between Epidermal and Cork Cells

Protective Tissues

Protective tissues are an essential aspect of the plant tissue system. The epidermal cells and cork cells are two kinds of protective cells found in the peripheral layer of the plant. Epidermal cells are organised in a solitary layer to cover the entire plant body. These protective cells contain water-repellent substances, which prevents desiccation. Also, they protect against infections and injuries. The fundamental distinction between epidermal and cork cells is their existence.

Epidermal Cells

The epidermis is the top or primary cell layer of the plant body. These cell structures are covered with cuticles or a waxy sheet, for a means of protection. They are firmly connected and give mechanical strength and security to the plant.

Also see: Difference between Epidermis and Dermis

Cork Cells

The Cork is the external defensive layer of a plant/tree. As plants become more established, the superficial defensive tissues go through specific changes. Due to the changes, the secondary meristem restores the epidermis of the stem. This meristematic layer makes up the cork cells.

Furthermore, the cambium helps in the secondary thickening of these cork cells. They are also the dead cells that make the bark.

Epithelial and Cork Cell

Characteristic Differences in the Protective Tissues


Epidermal Cells

Cork Cells

Characteristic Features Single Layer Living Cells Multi-Layer Non-Living Cells
During Primary Growth Phase Present Absent
During Secondary Growth Present Present
Secretions Cutin Suberin
Observed in All plants Woody dicots, a few monocots, and Gymnosperm

Refer: Difference between Monocots and Dicots

Frequently Asked Questions


How do cork cells differ from the epidermis?

A segment of secondary meristem replaces the outer epidermis. This layer structures the cork cells, which is also a kind of protective tissue. Also, cork cells are found only in mature roots and stems. In contrast, the epidermis is located in the immature parts.


What are the similarities between cork and epidermal cells?

Chloroplasts are absent in both epidermal and cork cells. Furthermore, both epidermal cells and cork cells protect the plant’s inside designs from water and air loss.


What are the functions of cork cells?

The cork cells are dead cells that secrete suberin. This secretion helps the cell wall to be impermeable to water and gases. This layer of dead cells also gives additional protection to the plants.

Also Read: Vascular Cambium and Cork Cambium

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