Complex permanent tissue A complex permanent tissue may be classified as a group of more than one type of tissue having a common origin and working together as a unit to perform a function. These tissues are concerned with transportation of water, mineral, nutrients and organic substances. The important complex tissues in vascular plants are xylem, phloem. Complex permanent tissue is heterogeneous tissue which is formed of two or more than two types of mature cells of common origin which coordinate their activities to form a specific function.

Conducting tissues of plants are complex permanent tissues. They are of two types, xylem and phloem. Xylem Xylem is a chief, conducting tissue of vascular plants. It is responsible for conduction of water and mineral ions. Xylem is a very important plant tissue as it is part of the ‘plumbing’ of a plant. It carries water and dissolved substances throughout and consists of a combination of parenchyma cells, fibers, vessels, tracheids and ray cells. Long tubes made up of individual cells are the vessels, while vessel members are open at each end.

Internally, there may be bars of wall material extending across the open space. These cells are joined end to end to form long tubes. Vessel members and tracheids are dead at maturity. The pit pairs allow water to pass from cell to cell. While most conduction in the xylem is up and down, there is some side-to-side or lateral conduction via rays. Rays are horizontal rows of long-living parenchyma cells that arise out of the vascular cambium. In trees, and other woody plants, ray will radiate out from the center of stems and roots and in cross-section will look like the spokes of a wheel.

Phloem Phloem is an equally important plant tissue as it also is part of the ‘plumbing’ of a plant. Primarily, phloem carries dissolved food substances throughout the plant. This conduction system is composed of sieve-tube member and companion cells, that are without secondary walls. The parent cells of the vascular cambium produce both xylem and phloem. This usually also includes fibers, parenchyma and ray cells. Sieve tubes are formed from sieve-tube members laid end to end. The end walls, unlike vessel members in xylem, do not have openings.

The end walls, however, are full of small pores where cytoplasm extends from cell to cell. These porous connections are called sieve plates. In spite of the fact that their cytoplasm is actively involved in the conduction of food materials, sieve-tube members do not have nuclei at maturity. It is the companion cells that are nestled between sieve-tube members that function in some manner bringing about the conduction of food. Sieve-tube members that are alive contain a polymer called callose.

Callose stays in solution as long at the cell contents are under pressure. As a repair mechanism, if an insect injures a cell and the pressure drops, the callose will precipitate. However, the callose and a phloem protein will be moved through the nearest sieve plate where they will form a plug. This prevents further leakage of sieve tube contents and the injury is not necessarily fatal to overall plant turgor pressure. Phloem transports food and materials in plants in upwards and downwards as required. [pic]