Vascular Cambium and Cork Cambium, Biology tutorial

Introduction to Vascular Cambium:

In the vascular tissue of plants, the vascular cambium is a lateral meristem. The vascular cambium is the source of both the secondary xylem and the secondary phloem and is positioned among these tissues in the root and stem. Some leaves even encompass a vascular cambium.

The vascular cambium generally comprises of two kinds of cells:

1) Fusiform initials (that is, tall cells, axially oriented)

2) Ray initials (nearly isodiametric cells - smaller and round to angular in shape)

Vascular cambium is a kind of meristem - a tissue comprising of embryonic (that is, partly differentiated) cells from which other plant tissues originate. Primary meristems are the apical meristems on the root tips and shoot tips. The other lateral meristem is the cork cambium that generates cork, part of the bark.

Vascular cambia are found in the gymnosperms and dicots but not monocots, which generally deficient in secondary growth. For successful grafting, the vascular cambia of the stock and scion should be aligned so they can grow altogether.

Introduction to Cork Cambium:

Cork cambium is a tissue found in numerous vascular plants as portion of the periderm. The cork cambium is a lateral meristem and is accountable for secondary growth which replaces the epidermis in stems and roots. It is mainly found in woody and numerous herbaceous dicots, gymnosperms and some monocots that generally lack the secondary growth.

Cork cambium is one of the meristems of plants - the sequence of tissues comprising of embryonic (incompletely differentiated) cells from which the plant grows up. This is one of the numerous layers of bark, among the cork and primary phloem. The function of cork cambium is to generate the cork, a tough protective material.

Synonyms for cork cambium are pericambium or phellogen and bark cambium. Phellogen is stated as the meristematic cell layer accountable for the growth of the periderm. Cells which grow inwards from the phellogen are known as phelloderm and the cells which build up outwards are known as phellem or cork. The periderm therefore comprises of three different layers:

  • Phelloderm,
  • Phellogen (cork cambium)
  • Phellem

Growth of the cork cambium is extremely variable among different species and as well highly dependent on age, growth conditions and so on as can be observed from the various surfaces of bark; smooth, tessellated, fissured, scaly, flaking off and so on.

Economic significance of Cork Cambium:

1) Commercial cork is derived from the bark of the cork oak. Cork consists of numerous uses comprising wine bottle stoppers, bulletin-boards, hot pads, coasters, to protect tables from hot pans, insulation, flooring, sealing for lids, gaskets for engines and so on. It is as well a high strength-to-weight/cost ablative material for aerodynamic prototypes in the wind tunnels and also satellite launch vehicle payload fairings.

2) Numerous kinds of bark are employed as mulch in the farm.

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