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Vascular Bundles in Plants: Function & Types

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  • 0:01 What Are Vascular Bundles?
  • 0:58 Function
  • 1:43 Types of Bundle Arrangements
  • 2:44 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Meredith Mikell
Plants need nutrients and water pumped throughout their stems, roots, and leaves. In this lesson, we will learn about the function of vascular bundles, the different types, and test your knowledge with a short quiz.

What Are Vascular Bundles?

Look down at the underside of your arms. Chances are you can see some of your veins, carrying blood down to your hands and back to your heart. Your veins, arteries, and capillaries are an example of vascular tissue, tissue that carries life-sustaining substances through the body of an organism. Our vascular tissue transports blood, which carries nutrients, hormones, immune cells, and a whole mix of other substances essential to optimum body functioning.

Plants also have vascular tissue. Only instead of blood, their tissues transport water and nutrients that are pumped through the plant's whole structure, often against gravity. While our veins are spread around our other internal body parts, like bones and muscle, plant vascular tissue is arranged in vascular bundles. You can see these bundles if you cut a piece of celery in half, and look at the cross section, shown in this image. The bundles run through the plant like straws.

Function

Just like you have veins, arteries, and capillaries, plants have several different tissue types that make up their vascular bundles. Xylem is tissue that is responsible for transporting water and nutrients through the plant. Phloem is tissue that transports larger, organic molecules through the plant. Think of them as 'drinking' and 'eating' tubes, respectively. The plant tissues that make up the bulk of the 'filling' spaces in plants are known as parenchyma, which grows with the plant and also helps in the storage of various substances. Also involved in growth is the cambium tissue, which creates new xylem and phloem as the plant stems increase in girth. All of these tissues serve to ensure that critical substances are transported through the plant.

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