Learn the Different Types of Plant Cells

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Types of Plant Cells

Collenchyma Cells
These plant collenchyma cells form supporting tissue. Ed Reschke/Getty Images

Types of Plant Cells

Plant cells are eukaryotic cells that are similar to animal cells. As a plant matures, its cells become specialized. There are a number of important specialized types of plant cells. Some examples of specialized plant cells include:

  • Parenchyma Cells

    Parenchyma cells are usually depicted as the typical plant cell because they are not very specialized. These cells synthesize (by photosynthesis) and store organic products in the plant. Most of the plant's metabolism takes place in these cells. Parenchyma cells compose the middle layer of leaves as well as the outer and inner layers of stems and roots. The soft tissue of fruits is also composed of parenchyma cells.
  • Collenchyma Cells

    Collenchyma cells have a support function in plants, particularly in young plants. These cells help to support plants while not restraining growth due to their lack of secondary cell walls and the absence of a hardening agent in their primary cell walls.
  • Sclerenchyma Cells

    Sclerenchyma cells also have a support function in plants, but unlike collenchyma cells, they have a hardening agent and are much more rigid. These cells are thick and contain various shapes. Sclerenchyma cells form the hard outer shell of nuts and seeds. They are found in stems, roots, and leaf vascular bundles.
  • Water Conducting Cells

    Water conducting cells of xylem also have a support function in plants but unlike collenchyma cells, they have a hardening agent and are much more rigid. Two types of cells compose xylem. They are narrow, hollow cells called tracheids and vessel members. Gymnosperms and seedless vascular plants contain tracheids, while angiosperms contain both tracheids and vessel members.
  • Sieve Tube Members

    Sieve tube cells of phloem conduct organic nutrients such as sugar throughout the plant. Other cell types found in phloem include companion cells, phloem fibres, and parenchyma cells.

Plant Cells and Tissues

For additional information on plant cells, tissues, and photosynthesis, see:

  • Plant Tissue Systems - Plant tissues can be simple, consisting of a single cell type, or complex, consisting of more than one cell type.
  • Plant Cell Quiz - Test your knowledge of plant cells and tissues.
  • Photosynthesis - Plants absorb energy from sunlight and use it to produce sugar and other organic compounds.