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Chapter: 11th Botany : Chapter 9 : Tissue and Tissue System

Fundamental Tissue System

The ground or fundamental tissue system constitutes the main body of the plants.

Fundamental Tissue System

The ground or fundamental tissue system constitutes the main body of the plants. It includes all the tissues except epidermis and vascular tissues. In monocot stem, ground tissue system is a continuous mass of parenchymatous tissue in which vascular bundles are found scattered. Hence ground tissue is not differentiated into cortex, endodermis, pericycle and pith. Generally in dicot stem, ground tissue system is differentiated into three main zones – cortex, pericycle and pith. It is classified into extrastelar ground tissue (Examples: cortex and endodermis) and intrastelar ground tissue (Examples: pericycle, medullary ray and pith)


Extrastelar Ground Tissue

The ground tissues present outside the stele is called extrastelar ground tissue. (Cortex)


Intrastelar Ground Tissue


The ground tissues present within the stele are called intrastelar ground tissues. (pericycle, medullary rays and pith).


Different Components of Ground Tissue Systems are as follows




One or two layers of continuous or discontinuous tissue present below the epidermis, is called hypodermis. It is protective in function.

In dicot stem, hypodermis is generally collenchymatous, whereas in monocot stem, it is generally sclerenchymatous. In many plants collenchyma form the hypodermis.


General Cortex

The Cortex occurs between the epidermis and pericycle. Cortex is a few to many layers in thickness, In most cases, it is made up of parenchymatous tissues. Intercellular spaces may or may not be present.

The cortical cells may contain non living inclusions of starch grains, oil, tannins and crystals.

Sometimes in young stem, chloroplasts develop in peripheral cortical cells, which is called chlorenchyma.

In the leaves, the ground tissue consists of chlorenchyma tissues. This region is called mesophyll. In hydrophytes, cortex is Aerenchymatous (with air cavities).


Its general function is storage of food as well as providing mechanical support to organs.




The cells of this layer are barrel shaped and arranged compactly without intercellular spaces.


Endodermis is the innermost cortical layer that separates cortex from the stele. This layer may be a true endodermis as in root or it is an endodermis like layer in stems. This layer is morphologically homologous to the endodermis found in the root.


The cells of endodermis like layer had living cells containing starch grains. Hence it is known as starch sheath. In true root endodermis, radial and inner tangential walls of endodermal cells possess thickenings of lignin, suberin and some other carbohydrates in the form of strips they are called casparian strips.

The endodermal cells, which are opposite to the protoxylem elements, are thin walled without casparian strips. These cells are called passage cells. Their function is to transport water and dissolved salts from the cortex to the protoxylem.


Water cannot pass through other endodermal cells due to casparian strips. The main function of casparian strips in the endodermal cells is to prevent the re-entry of water into the cortex once water entered the xylem tissue.


The other suberized cells acts as water-tight layer between vascular and non-vascular regions to check the loss of water.




Pericycle is single or few layered parenchymatous found inner to the endodermis. It is the outermost layer of the stele. Rarely thick walled sclerenchymatous. In angiosperms, pericycle gives rise to lateral roots.


Pith or Medulla


The central part of the ground tissue is known as pith or medulla. Generally this is made up of thin walled parenchyma cells with intercellular spaces. The cells in the pith generally stores starch, fatty substances, tannins, phenols, calcium oxalate crystals, etc.


Albuminous Cells: The cytoplasmic nucleated parenchyma, is associated with the sieve cells of Gymnosperms. Albuminous cells in Conifers are analogous to companion cells of Angiosperms. It also called as strasburger cells.


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