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Intercalary meristem

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Definition

noun, plural: intercalary meristems

(botany) A type of meristematic tissue at the base of nodes and leaf blades of monocots


Supplement

Meristematic tissues consist of cells that are actively dividing. They are responsible for the indeterminate growth in plants. They give rise to permanent plant tissues such as vascular tissues, epidermis, phellem, ground tissues, etc. Based on the location of the meristematic tissue, the three different types are: (1) apical meristem (terminal portions), (2) intercalary meristem (at the nodes of certain monocots), and (3) lateral meristem (toward or from the sides).

Intercalary meristem is a type of meristematic tissue associated with the growth in length in the middle position, thus the name. In particular, it is made up of meristematic cells that divide mitotically in the stem at the base of nodes and leaf blades. The growth at this point is referred to as intercalary growth.

This type of meristem occurs only in monocots, particularly grass. This is essential to these plant groups as it serves as an adaptive mechanism against herbivory. Through intercalary growth, these plants are able to rapidly regrow leaves and elongate stems to compensate for plant parts grazed by herbivores.


Synonym(s):

  • intercalary meristematic tissue
  • intercalary growth tissue

See also: