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Collenchyma Cells: Function, Definition & Examples

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Instructor: Derrick Arrington

Derrick has taught biology and chemistry at both the high school and college level. He has a master's degree in science education.

Collenchyma cells are elongated cells that have thick cell walls which serve to provide plants with structural support. Discover the full definition of collenchyma cells, and understand their function through examples of these cells. Updated: 09/08/2021

What are Collenchyma Cells?

Humans and animals have bones to provide support and structure. While plants don't have bones, they do contain a variety of structural cells that have different compositions and functions. In this lesson, we'll be taking a look at collenchyma cells, which help plants stay standing.

Collenchyma cells are elongated cells with irregularly thick cell walls that provide support and structure. Their thick cell walls are composed of the compounds cellulose and pectin. These cells are often found under the epidermis, or the outer layer of cells in young stems and in leaf veins.

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Function of Collenchyma Cells

Collenchyma cells provide structural support, protecting the plant by serving as an inner framework, much like bones do for humans and other animals. Plants are exposed to numerous structural challenges and without these cells, most plants would be too fragile to withstand the damage caused by heavy rains, high winds, and other stresses.

The thickened walls of the collenchyma cells enable them to provide additional support to the areas where they are found. Most notably, collenchyma cells serve growing parts of the plant, such as shoots and leaves, both by providing support and by filling in vacant spaces that will be used for later growth.

Types of Collenchyma Cells

Botanists typically classify collenchyma cells into four main types: angular, tangential, annular, and lacunar.

Angular collenchyma cells are given their names because their cell walls are thicker in the corners where they connect with other cells and thin in the middle, giving them an angular appearance. These cells are often found in leaves, giving them a bumpy texture. They have been notably studied in the leaves of celery plants.

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