THE UBIQUITOUS PARENCHYMA ( now that’s a mouthful !)
Plants contain many types of tissues and within each, various specialized cells – but none of them beat Parenchyma !
These are the biochemistry machines of the plant.

They are alive at maturity (unlike wood) and specialize into many forms.
The basis for all plant function – they are everywhere and in abundance – just like our Garden Care team !!!

Their thin and permeable walls allows the Typical parenchyma cell in Almond.
movement of small molecules between the cells.
Typical parenchyma cell in Almond. ( Thank you research gate ! )

In epidermis, some are specialized for light penetration, gas exchange, or defense (hairs). Others control water loss, heat,
and light direction. Specialized cells store sugar, fats, and starches, or secrete oils, nectar and other compounds.

An oil gland in orange peel. (Thank you University of Texas)

In leaves, the two distinct parenchyma are specialized for light penetration and photosynthesis. They contain large
amounts of chloroplasts. They also assist in regulating gas exchange (carbon dioxide) through Guard Cells (stomata).

Live cells are found in wood rays which transport water and food across the plant stem.(Science Direct)

Some are also involved in secretion of nectar and manufacturing secondary chemical compounds that act as a protective
material (toxins, oils, gum, alkaloids and irritants). See pictures below from Trinity College.

Lavender oil gland ( cool right – its like an Alien world !)
Oregano oil gland
Cherry Nectary glands.
The Landscape Design Team at Plant Specialists know how to do fragrant Lavender !
And now you know what the oil glands look like that gives them that fragrance !!!!

In many vegetables like potatoes, plantains, legumes and root tubers parenchyma will contain a large amount of starch.

Starch granules packed inside an amyloplast (starch storage organelle).

They can also super specialize ! Stellate parenchyma (aerenchyma) in aquatic plants are composed of star-shaped cells
with large air spaces between. The air is what keeps the leaves afloat! Pictures from Cornell University Herbarium.

Large air pockets inside water lily leaf.
Stem of water lily filled with huge air pockets!
Cells in the stems of cacti are bloated and store large amounts of water!
How many starch granules could there in a baked potato! – only your hips will know!
Thank you

This post was put together by Peter Morris – our resident Horticulturalist