Types of Supporting Tissues and Functions

Plants have various types of supporting tissues that make them up.  Like animals, these tissues help them to stand some meters above the ground without falling. They have definite shape, strength, rigidity and to resists external force like wind and water. tissues and organs from Joseph Martin Paet

Tissues that give support to plant are:

  1. Parenchyma
  2. Collenchyma
  3. Sclerenchyma
  4. Xylem
  5. Parenchyma
  • Tissues made up of living unspecialized plant cells that are roughly spherical in shape
  • They are composed of mainly cellulose and a large vacuole containing cell sap
  • It gives rigidity to plants as a result of tightly packed cells.
  • Other tissues are derived from parenchyma.
  • They possess thin wall and are found in the cortex of stems, leaf mesophylls, and flesh of fruits.
  1. Collenchyma
  • Consist of living cells that are thickened at the corners.
  • Collenchyma cells are found beneath the epidermis in stems and petioles and around the veins in dicot leaves.
  • Usually polygonal elongated cells with tapering ends.
  • It enable flexibility and resilience.
  • Does not support secondary growth in plant.
  1. Sclerenchyma
  • This is made up of cells impregnated with lignin that gives the plant hardness, rigidity and mechanical support.
  • They are made up of dead cells (fibres and sclereids/stone cells)
  • Fibres are made up of narrow polygonal elongated cells.
  • It has thick secondary walls.
  1. Xylem of Wood Tissue
  • It is the tissue that conducts water and mineral from the soil to the plant and vessels.
  • Xylem is made up of (a) fibres (b) vessels (c) tracheids and (d) parenchyma.
  • Has strengthening function that undergo secondary growth.

Functions of Supporting Tissues in Plants

The following are supporting tissues in plants:

  1. It gives definite shape to the plant.
  2. Epidermis, the outmost skin determines the structure of the plant and how it looks.
  3. Strength: Collenchyma cells, sclerenchyma cells, xylem vessles and turgid parenchyma cells have been identified as tissues that strengthen the plants; walls are thickened to provide strength to plant.
  4. Rigidity; Supporting tissues gives rigidity that plant needs to withstand blows from outside.
  5. Resilience and Flexibility; By the help of supporting tissues, plant sway in the direction of the wind, breezes, and water without being moved.


  1. List four plant tissues and discuss any one of your choice.
  2. Mention three cells of the xylem tissue
  3. State three functions supporting tissues in plants.

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