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•  Undifferentiated cells in the meristems of plants allow indeterminate growth

Meristems are tissues in a plant consisting of undifferentiated cells capable of indeterminate growth

  • They are analagous to totipotent stem cells in animals, except that they have specific regions of growth and development
  • Meristematic tissue can allow plants to regrow structures or even form entirely new plants (vegetative propagation)

Meristematic tissue can be divided into apical meristems and lateral meristems:

  • Apical meristems occur at shoot and root tips and are responsible for primary growth (i.e. plant lengthening)
  • Lateral meristems occur at the cambium and are responsible for secondary growth (i.e. plant widening / thickening)
  • Apical meristems give rise to new leaves and flowers, while lateral meristems are responsible for the production of bark

Apical vs Lateral Meristems