Sclerenchyma Cells: Function & Location

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  • 0:00 Definition of…
  • 0:40 Function
  • 1:15 Types and Location
  • 2:35 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
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.

Plants contain a variety of cells that perform specific functions. In this lesson, you will learn about a type of cells known as sclerenchyma to gain an understanding of their function and location.

Definition of Sclerenchyma Cells

Plants are very different from the animals, humans, and other organisms we encounter on a daily basis. As humans, we depend on our skeletons for support and flexibility as well as our complex organs to perform life functions. Plants, on the other hand, depend on their cells to be extremely specialized to perform their life functions. For example, since plants do not have bones for structure and support they must have cell walls around all of their cells. This leads to the need for very unique cells in plants. Sclerenchyma cells are specialized plant cells that exist to provide strength and support. They are present in all kinds of plants including grasses, trees, and flowering plants.

Function

Plants require cells that are bound together and have a strong outer layer known as a cell wall. Sclerenchyma cells are strong, thick cells that provide most of the support in a plant. They are known to have extremely thick cell walls and do not participate in many of the other activities of the developing plant, such as photosynthesis, because their focus is strictly on support and structure.

As a matter of fact, when sclerenchyma cells are fully mature, they die. Once they're dead, they simply maintain the structure of the plant and do not require further maintenance, freeing the plant to concentrate on other areas while having the support and strength it needs.

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