Question Video: Identifying a Simple Plant Tissue from Its Description Biology

Which type of simple tissue in plants is being outlined in the following description? The tissue has cells that are oval or round in shape, surrounded by thin cellulose cell walls, and may contain chloroplasts.

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Video Transcript

Which type of simple tissue in plants is being outlined in the following description? The tissue has cells that are oval or round in shape, surrounded by thin cellulose cell walls, and may contain chloroplasts.

We are asked to determine which type of simple tissue has these structural features. So to figure this out, let’s compare the three simple tissues in plants using a table and define some key terms along the way. Simple tissues are generally composed of one type of cell. Or at least the majority of cells have very similar structures and functions. There are three different types of simple tissues in plants: parenchyma, collenchyma, and sclerenchyma. The drawings below the table correspond to the typical shape and structure of cells in each type of simple tissue.

Parenchyma cells are typically oval or round in shape, while collenchyma cells usually look like elongated rectangles. And as you can see, sclerenchyma cells vary widely in their shape and size. You might notice that parenchyma cells have the thinnest cell walls of all three tissue types. And these walls are made of cellulose. Collenchyma cells have thicker cell walls to provide mechanical support and are reinforced with a substance called pectin. Sclerenchyma cells have the thickest cell walls of all three types to structurally support and provide strength to the plant’s transport vessels, for example. These cell walls are reinforced with strong substances, such as lignin, to provide them with this strength.

Parenchyma cells also contain chloroplasts, as one of their many functions is to carry out photosynthesis. Collenchyma cells might also contain chloroplasts, but they are unlikely to be so many as in a parenchyma cell. Sclerenchyma cells are technically nonliving, partly due to the waterproofing lignin in their walls. Therefore, there is no point in sclerenchyma cells containing chloroplasts as they would not be able to obtain the water needed for photosynthesis across their walls. Let’s look back to the information in the question to discover which simple tissue type it is describing.

The question describes the cells’ overall shape as oval or round. This suggests that the cells might be found in parenchyma tissues rather than the long rectangular cells of collenchyma. As collenchyma cells vary in their shape, the cells in the question being round does not necessarily rule out sclerenchyma. So let’s continue to the other features. The question also states that the cell walls of these cells are thin and made of cellulose. This provides further evidence that they may be found in parenchyma tissues as both collenchyma and sclerenchyma cells have thicker cell walls that are reinforced with other substances, such as pectin and lignin.

The question tells us that the cells in this tissue may contain chloroplasts. We know that these organelles may be found either in parenchyma or in collenchyma cells, but not in sclerenchyma cells. Based on this evidence, we can deduce that these cells are unlikely to be found in collenchyma or in sclerenchyma tissues, which means that as they meet all the necessary criteria, these cells are most likely to be found in simple parenchyma tissues.

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