Vascular Elements of Seed Plants, Biology tutorial


Vascular plants are as well termed as tracheophytes or higher plants are such plants which have lignified tissues for conducting the minerals, water and photosynthetic products via the plant. Vascular plants comprise the ferns, flowering plants, club-mosses, conifers and other gymnosperms. The scientific names for the group comprise Tracheophyta and Tracheobionta.

Basic characteristics of Vascular plants:

Vascular plants developed quite a few important features:

1) Vascular plants encompass water-carrying tissues, allowing the plants to become a bigger size. Non-vascular plants be deficient in these and are limited to relatively small sizes.

2) In vascular plants, the principal generation stage is the big, dominant, nutritionally-independent sporophyte that is diploid by two sets of chromosomes per cell. In the non-vascular plants, the principal generation stage is often the gametophyte that is haploid by one set of chromosomes per cell.

3) Specialized stems, leaves and roots.

4) Vascular plants contain cuticles and stomata to prevent the desiccation and facilitate gas exchange, correspondingly.

5) Desiccation tolerant seeds. Non-vascular plants need water for the fertilization, while seeds are desiccation tolerant and can remain dormant till conditions are correct for the reproduction.

Vascular Plant Structure:

Plants encompass three main tissue systems: the vascular tissue system, the ground tissue system and the dermal tissue system.

The vascular tissue system is included of the xylem and phloem. In common, the xylem conducts water and dissolved minerals, and the phloem conducts primarily sucrose, carbohydrates for the plant to employ as food. The phloem as well conducts amino acids, hormones and other substances essential for the growth of plant.

However, the xylem is the main water transporting medium and the phloem the major pathway of sugar transport, at times sugars do move in the xylem. An instance of this is maple sap, employed to produce the maple syrup.

The ground tissue system comprises of cubic or round cells with thin walls and living protoplasts, whose role is to help in photosynthesis, storage and secretion.

The dermal tissue system makes the outer protective covering for the plants, often comprising of cutin, a waxy substance making the cuticle. Each of such three systems consists of its own series of specialized cells to help in their corresponding function.

Nutrient distribution:

Water and nutrients from the soil and the organic compounds generated in leaves are distributed to particular regions in the plant via the xylem and phloem. The xylem draws nutrients and water up from the roots to the upper parts of the plant's body and the phloem conducts other materials, like the sucrose produced throughout photosynthesis that gives the plant energy to keep growing and seeding.

The xylem comprises of tracheids that are dead hard-walled hollow cells arranged to make tiny tubes to function in the water transport. A tracheid cell wall generally has the polymer lignin. The phloem though comprises of living cells termed as sieve-tube members. Among the sieve-tube members are sieve plates that encompass pores to let molecules to pass through. Sieve-tube members lack those organs as nuclei or ribosomes; however cells next to them, the companion cells, function to maintain the sieve-tube members alive.

The movement of nutrients, sugars and water is influenced by transpiration, conduction and the absorption of water.

The most plentiful compound in all plants, as in all life, is water that serves a significant role in different processes taking place. Transpiration is the major procedure a plant can call on to move compounds in its tissues. The essential minerals and nutrients a plant is composed of remain, commonly, in the plant. Water is continuously lost from the plant via its stomata to the atmosphere.

Water is emerged from the plants leaves through stomata, carried there through leaf veins and vascular bundles in the plants cambium layer. The movement of water out of the leaf stomata makes, when the leaves are considered together, a transpiration pull. The pull is made via water surface tension in the plant cells. The draw of water upwards is assisted through the movement of water into the roots through osmosis. This procedure as well helps the plant in absorbing nutrients from the soil as soluble salts, a procedure termed as absorption. Surprisingly, the movement of water upwards requires very little or no energy from the plant.


The Xylem vessels let the movement of nutrients and water upwards towards the shoots and seeds which prevent germinating beneath optimal ecological conditions. Living, non dormant seeds germinate if soil temperatures and moisture conditions are suitable for cellular processes and division; dormant seeds don't.

One significant function of most seeds is delayed germination that lets time for dispersal and prevents germination of all the seeds at similar time. The staggering of germination safeguards several seeds and seedlings from suffering damage or death from short periods of bad weather or from the transient herbivores; it as well lets some seeds to germinate if competition from other plants for water and light might be less intense. The other form of delayed seed germination is seed quiescence that is dissimilar than true seed dormancy and takes place if a seed fails to germinate as the external ecological conditions are too dry or warm or cold for the germination. Most of the species of plants have seeds which delay germination for numerous months or years, and several seeds can remain in the soil seed bank for more than 50-years prior to germination. A few seeds encompass a very long viability period and the oldest documented germinating seed was almost 2000 years old based on the radio-carbon dating.

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