Ground Tissue in Plants: Function, System & Definition

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Sarah Friedl

Sarah has a Master's degree in Zoology and a Bachelor's in Biology, and has taught college level Physical Science and Biology.

How do plants support and feed themselves? Ground tissue is important in plants because it is responsible for creating food from sunlight, as well helping plants grow longer and stand upright.

We also recommend watching Structure of Plant Stems: Vascular and Ground Tissue and Bone Tissue: Functions and Types

Tissue Systems and Ground Tissue Defined

Within a plant, there are three tissue systems, each serving important functions for the plant. If we start from the outside of the plant, the first tissue system you would encounter is called the dermal tissue system. This tissue is much like your skin, forming the first line of defense against physical damage and infection from the outside world.

In the very center of the plant, we find the vascular tissue system. This tissue provides support, but it also creates a highway of long-distance transport between the roots and other parts of the plants. Both water and nutrients are transported through the vascular tissue.

The third system is the ground tissue system. This tissue accounts for most of the bulk of the plant and fills the spaces in between the dermal and vascular tissues. The ground tissue has a variety of functions depending on what type of ground tissue it is.

Function

There are three types of ground tissue, and each one has a specific function or set of functions for the plant.

Parenchyma is a very versatile type of ground tissue, and it is responsible for photosynthesis (how a plant makes food from sunlight) and food storage. Parenchyma cells are also responsible for healing in the plant - this tissue can go through cell division and regenerate when needed. You are likely familiar with parenchyma cells, because this is what the pulp in fruit is comprised of.

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