Plant stem  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

A stem is one of two main structural axes of a vascular plant. The stem is normally divided into nodes and internodes, the nodes hold buds which grow into one or more leaves, inflorescence (flowers), conifer cones, roots, other stems etc. The internodes distance one node from another. The term shoots is often confused with stems; shoots generally refer to new fresh plant growth and does include stems but also to other structures like leaves or flowers. The other main structural axis of plants is the root. In most plants stems are located above the soil surface but some plants have underground stems. A stem develops buds and shoots and usually grows above the ground. Inside the stem, materials move up and down the tissues of the transport system.

Stems have four main functions which are:

  • Support for and the elevation of leaves, flowers and fruits. The stems keep the leaves in the light and provide a place for the plant to keep its flowers and fruits.
  • Transport of fluids between the roots and the shoots in the xylem and phloem.
  • Storage of nutrients.
  • The production of new living tissue. The normal life span of plant cells is one to three years. Stems have cells called meristems that annually generate new living tissue.





Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Plant stem" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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