Dictionary > Apical meristem

Apical meristem

noun, plural: apical meristems
(botany) A type of meristematic tissue that is located at the tips or terminal portions of the plant, e.g. shoot apex and root apex


Meristems are areas in plants where mitosis occurs, and due to this cell division, it is also where growth occurs. Lateral meristems can be found at the tip of lateral growths in the plant while the apical meristems responsible for vertical growth can be found at the root and shoot (apex) tips.

Meristematic tissues consist of cells that are actively dividing. They are responsible for the indeterminate growth in plants. They give rise to permanent plant tissues such as vascular tissues, epidermis, phellem, ground tissues, etc. Based on the location of the meristematic tissue, the three different types are: (1) apical meristem (terminal portions), (2) intercalary meristem (at the nodes of certain monocots), and (3) lateral meristem (toward or from the sides).

The apical meristem is a type of meristematic tissue that occurs at the terminal parts of the plant such as root tips and shoot apex. As such, there are two major types of apical meristems according to location, i.e. root apical meristem and shoot apical meristem. The apical meristem actively divides to enable growth in length or height (primary growth). Being involved in the primary growth and in the formation of the primary tissue, it is classified as a primary meristem.

In vascular plants, the apical meristem gives rise to the protoderm, the procambium, and the ground meristem. The protoderm, in turn, develops into epidermis, the procambium, chiefly into primary vascular tissues, and the ground meristem, into ground tissues.
Also called:

  • apical meristematic tissue
  • apical embryonic tissue
  • apical growth tissue
  • terminal meristem (or terminal meristematic tissue)

See also:

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