Meristematic tissue is undifferentiated tissue. Meristematic tissue contains actively dividing cells that result in formation of other tissue types (e.g. vascular, dermal or ground tissue). Apical meristematic tissue is found in buds and growing tips of plants. Lateral meristematic tissue make the plant grow thicker. Examples of lateral meristematic tissue include the cambium or ‘bark’ found in trees. Lateral meristems occur in woody trees and plants.
The following table highlights how the structure of the meristematic tissue is suited to its function.
Table: Structural Adaption and Function of Meristematic Tissue
|Cells are small, spherical or polygonal in shape.||This allows for close packing of a large number of cells.|
|Vacuoles are very small or completely absent.||Vacuoles provide rigidity to cells thus preventing rapid division.|
|Large amount of cytoplasm and a large nucleus.||The lack of organelles is a feature of an undifferentiated cell. Large nuclear material contains the DNA necessary for division and differentiation.|
Meristematic tissue is found in root tips as this is where roots are growing and where dividing cells are produced. The figure below shows micrograph images of a root tip.