Xylem Parenchyma

Xylem parenchyma can be described as a component of the complex plant tissue xylem. The said cells are mostly concerned with the storage of fat and carbohydrate and transport of water. 

While on this topic, it must be noted that plant tissues are categorised as per their structure and functioning. Furthermore, in a broader sense, they are divided into two types, namely – the meristematic tissues and permanent tissues. 

Keeping this vital information in mind, let us proceed to find out more about the xylem structure and subsequently move on to learn about parenchyma cells in xylem. 

What is Xylem?

Xylem is a vascular tissue which is found extensively in plants. The primary xylem function is to transport water and dissolved nutrients from the root to the leaves to plants. Also, it is responsible for plants’ mechanical strength. 

Xylem can be primarily divided into two types of cells.

  1. Primary Xylem: It originates from procambium and is divided into metaxylem and protoxylem. Typically, it is formed during a plant’s primary growth.

  2. Secondary Xylem: It originates from vascular cambium and is formed during the secondary growth of a plant.

Take a quick look at the image below to find out the distinct classification of plant tissues and where xylem fits in it. 

Components of Xylem

Xylem comprises these 4 elements –

  1. Vessels

  2. Tracheids

  3. Xylem parenchyma

  4. Xylem fibres

You should refer to this image below to understand these 4 elements which primarily compose the xylem.

What is Xylem Parenchyma?

It is one of the most important and the only living components of xylem. Its cells come with ample cytoplasm and distinct nucleus; however, its cellulosic cell walls are quite thin.

The absence of the lignified cell wall is most noteworthy here. Furthermore, in secondary xylem, the occurrence of secondary growth is sporadic. These cells are mostly concerned with the storage of starch and fat and may facilitate transportation of water in the short distance.

Structure of Xylem Parenchyma

Typically, xylem parenchyma is classified into 2 types –

  1. Axial Parenchyma

It originates from the cambial cells’ stretched out fusiform initials and is arranged on the axis of the organ they occur.

  1. Ray Parenchyma

It originates from cambium’s ray initials. Notably, in xylem, there are 2 types of ray parenchyma –

  1. Upright ray cells

  2. Procumbent ray cells

Features of Xylem Parenchyma

Here are the significant features of xylem parenchyma –

  1. They are the only living cells which are colourless and large vacuoles.

  2. Their cell wall is thin and cellulosic.

  3. They have a prominent protoplast and nucleus.

  4. These living cells are present in both primary xylem and secondary xylem.

  5. Crystals with parenchyma cells have lignified walls.

  6. In herbaceous plants and new twigs of woody plants, chloroplasts are found in ray parenchyma cells.

  7. Axial parenchyma and ray parenchyma cells are present next to vessels outgrowths, tyloses.

  8. The living cells’ nucleus and cytoplasm migrate into tyloses.

  9. These tyloses accumulate a variety of substances.

  10. Tyloses often develop secondary walls, while at other times they may differentiate into sclereids. 

Functions of Xylem Parenchyma 

The xylem functions are as follows –

  1. Storage of food in the form of fat, crystals, starch, tannins, etc. 

  2. Circular transportation of water through the ray parenchymatous cell.

  3. Outgrowth called tyloses helps to combat vascular tissue damage during infection or drought.

  4. Maintenance of xylem’s transportation capacity.

  5. Restoration of the proper functionality of tracheids and vessels in case of cavity blockage due to embolism. 

Check out this table below to find out the fundamental differences between xylem and phloem.

Difference Between Xylem and Phloem

Parameter

Xylem 

Phloem

Function

Xylem tissues transport water and dissolved minerals from roots to leaves of a plant. It is also responsible for plants’ mechanical strength

It carries synthesised sugar from the green parts to other parts of a plant. 

Location

Xylem can be found in the centre of vascular bundles.

Phloem can be found in the exterior of vascular bundles.

Composition 

It is composed of lignin and cellulose.

It is made up of still-living cells.

Elements 

It comprises – vessels, tracheid, fibres and xylem parenchyma.

It comprises – sieve cells, sieve tubes, fibres, phloem parenchyma and companion cells.


Both xylem and phloem are jointly responsible for the proper functioning and sustenance of plants. Therefore, you need to become familiar with both concepts to understand their importance in plants. In turn, it will also help you to secure high marks in NEET exams and enhance your chances to crack the same.

Make the Most of Last Minute Revision for Guaranteed Success!

As the NEET exams inch closer, you must ensure to make the most of the last moment revisions. It will directly help to eliminate lingering doubts and fears while also benefiting your overall preparation. 

Furthermore, dedicate more time to important topics like xylem parenchyma to strengthen your grasp on them. Likewise, adopting a smart revision technique like using parenchyma diagram and charts to retain vital information with greater ease and to gain more clarity at the same time.

Other than that, you must also pay attention to your health and take adequate breaks between study sessions to help your brain relax.

Cheers to a brighter future ahead!

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What are xylem and phloem?

Ans. Xylem and phloem make up the vascular tissue of plants and transmit vital minerals and nutrients through different parts of plants. The xylem is concerned with transporting water and nutrients from root to leaves, while phloem conducts synthesised sugar from leaves to roots.

2. What are the components of xylem?

Ans. The complex tissue comprises 4 elements, namely, vessels, tracheid, and xylem fibre and xylem parenchyma. It must be noted that in gymnosperms, the xylem does not comprise vessels.

3. What is the function of parenchyma cells?

Ans. These thin-walled cells are responsible for the formation of plants’ ground tissues. Parenchyma cells store water, starch, fat and protein, among others. Furthermore, they are also accountable for buoyancy in floating plants.