15.1.3 Phases of Growth

The period of growth is generally divided into three phases, namely, meristematic, elongation and maturation. Let us understand this by looking at the root tips.

The constantly dividing cells, both at the root apex and the shoot apex, represent the meristematic phase of growth. The cells in this region are rich in protoplasm, possess large conspicuous nuclei.

Their cell walls are primary in nature, thin and cellulosic with abundant plasmodesmatal connections. The cells proximal (just next, away from the tip) to themeristematic zone represent the phase of elongation.

Increased vacuolation, cell enlargement and new cell wall deposition are the characteristics of the cells in this phase. Further away from the apex, i.e., more proximal to the phase of elongation, lies the portion of axis which is undergoing the phase of maturation.

The cells of this zone, attain their maximal size in terms of wall thickening and protoplasmic modifications. Most of the tissues and cell types you have studied in Chapter 6 represent this phase.

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