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School Biology notes: Cell specialisation 3. Specialised plant cells

Cell specialisation: 3. The function of some specialised plant cells

Doc Brown's GCSE level Biology exam study revision notes

There are various sections to work through, after 1 they can be read and studied in any order.

Sub-index for notes on stem cells, cell differentiation and cell specialisation

(3) Specialised plant cells


Root hair cells - are adapted to absorb water and minerals from soil and then through the root system to transport these minerals around the plant. Root hair cells are long and cover the surface of plant roots to create a large surface area to absorb water and minerals.

Xylem cells - are not living cells, but rod-like cells that form hollow tubes that can move water and dissolved minerals from the roots around the plant.

Phloem cells - phloem vessels (columns of living cells) move dissolved sugars, produced during photosynthesis, and other soluble food molecules from the leaves to growing tissues (e.g. the tips of roots and shoots) and storage tissues (e.g. in the roots).

Palisade leaf cells - their structure is adapted to support the sites of photosynthesis.

Their tall and thin shape allows lots of light to be absorbed and have a large surface area for absorbing carbon dioxide. Palisade cells contain lots of chloroplasts, subcellular structures that contain the chlorophyll needed for photosynthesis and the shape allows lots of them to be packed together on the top side of a leaf for maximum exposure to light - essential for photosynthesis.  See diagram below.

Guard leaf cells - can open and close the pores (stomata) in leaves and allow oxygen and carbon dioxide to pass in and out.  See diagram above.

For more details on plant cell evolutionary adaptations see

Transport and gas exchange in plants, transpiration, absorption of nutrients, leaf & root structure

and Photosynthesis, importance explained, limiting factors affecting rate, leaf adaptations

Summary of learning objectives and key words or phrases

Be able to describe the structure and function of specialised plant cells and their evolutionary adaptations.



Index for biology notes on stem cells, cell differentiation and cell specialisation

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