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Cork cambium

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Cork Cambium:
– Found in many vascular plants as part of the epidermis
– Responsible for secondary growth in roots and stems
– Present in woody and herbaceous dicots, gymnosperms, and some monocots
– Part of the plant’s meristems
– Produces cork, a protective material

– Synonyms for Cork Cambium:
– Bark cambium, pericambium, and phellogen
– Phellogen is responsible for periderm development
– Periderm consists of phelloderm, phellogen, and phellem
– Phelloderm is composed of living cells
– Phellem is dead at maturity, variable in structure

– Economic Importance:
– Commercial cork from Quercus suber (cork oak)
– Uses include wine stoppers, insulation, flooring, gaskets, etc.
– Used in aerodynamic prototypes and satellite launch components
– Mulch uses various types of bark
– Cork is a strong, lightweight, and cost-effective material

– See Also:
– Complementary cells
– Frost crack
– Sun scald (flora)

– References:
– Junikka, L. (1994) Macroscopic bark terminology
– Trockenbrodt, M. (1990) Survey of bark anatomy terminology

Cork cambium (Wikipedia)

Cork cambium (pl.: cambia or cambiums) is a tissue found in many vascular plants as a part of the epidermis. It is one of the many layers of bark, between the cork and primary phloem. The cork cambium is a lateral meristem and is responsible for secondary growth that replaces the epidermis in roots and stems. It is found in woody and many herbaceous dicots, gymnosperms and some monocots (monocots usually lack secondary growth). It is one of the plant's meristems – the series of tissues consisting of embryonic disk (incompletely differentiated) cells from which the plant grows. The function of cork cambium is to produce the cork, a tough protective material.

Cork cambium of woody stem (Tilia). It is different from the main vascular cambium, which is the ring between the wood (xylem) on the inside (top) and the red bast (phloem) outside it.

Synonyms for cork cambium are bark cambium, pericambium and phellogen. Phellogen is defined as the meristematic cell layer responsible for the development of the periderm. Cells that grow inwards from there are termed phelloderm, and cells that develop outwards are termed phellem or cork (note similarity with vascular cambium). The periderm thus consists of three different layers:

  • phelloderm – inside of cork cambium; composed of living parenchyma cells
  • phellogen (cork cambium) – meristem that gives rise to periderm
  • phellem (cork) – dead at maturity; air-filled, quite variable between different species, and is also highly dependent on age and growth conditions as can be observed from the different surfaces of bark, which may be smooth, fissured, tesselated, scaly, or flaking off.
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