PLANT CELL PARTS and their functions - Summary with diagrams!

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Have you ever wondered how there can be trees that are hundreds of meters tall? How could they reach such a height without breaking? For the answer lies in their structures, in the vegetables cells and in the processes that occur in them, which gives rise to plants as impressive as the redwoods or others with fewer cells and short lives, such as the river daisy. Plant cells are eukaryotic cells (cells with a true nucleus) and they divide and differentiate throughout the development of plants. Inside it, a fundamental process occurs for them and that surely sounds familiar to you: photosynthesis. This process makes them unique among living beings, but to specify more details about them, in this Green Ecologist article we talk about the parts of the plant cell, their functions and characteristics main.

What is a plant cell and its types

the plants are multicellular organisms made up of thousands of plant cells specialized in different functions. Therefore, we can say that among the main characteristics of the plant cell it stands out that it is the functional unit of the plant kingdom, in which processes and reactions take place that make their development possible. According to functions in which plant cells specialize, we can distinguish three types:

  • Parenchyma cells: They form the main tissue of plant tissues and the cells that compose it are called parenchymal cells. They are the most abundant cellular structures in plants, since they can represent 80% of the living cells of the plant. The functions of the parenchymal tissue are, depending on where it is, carrying out photosynthesis, storage or tissue regeneration. We can find this tissue in most parts of the plant organism, such as the bark or in the pulp of fruits.
  • Collenchyma cells: they form the cholenchymal tissue characterized by its resistance and flexibility. Collenchymal cells are alive, have unevenly thickened primary walls, facilitating their differentiation from parenchymal cells. They are not cells as widely distributed by plant organisms, but rather are found in growth organs, stem and leaves of herbaceous lagoons.
  • Sclerenchyma cells: Unlike collenchymal cells, these have a thickened and lignified secondary wall and are also characterized by being dead cells. Its function is fundamentally to support organs that have stopped growing in the plant, such as the stem or leaves. As a curiosity, to say that an example of sclerenchymal cells are those granules that we notice when we eat a pear, specifically, they are sclereids, a type of sclerenchymal cells.

You can read this other article in which we talk in more detail about the Types of plant tissues.

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List of the parts of the plant cell

In their adult state, these cells are different in structure and function from each other, but retain the same basic eukaryotic organization. This structure consists of the following parts of the plant cell:

  • Core
  • Cytoplasm
  • Cytoskeleton
  • Cellular membrane
  • Cellulose cell wall
  • Vacuole
  • Endoplasmic reticulum
  • Chloroplast and mitochondria
  • Golgi complex or apparatus

We recommend that you also read this other article about the Difference between a eukaryotic cell and a prokaryotic cell.


The nucleus of the plant cell It is an organelle that is surrounded by a double structure called the nuclear envelope. In it is contained the genetic information or DNA (Deoxyribonucleic acid) responsible for processes such as metabolism and cell growth and differentiation. The genetic information contained in each nucleus of each plant cell is the same in all members of the same species.


The cytoplasm of plant cells it's made of cytosol and organelles (minus the nucleus) that encompass the cellular content. The cytosol is the aqueous part that surrounds the organelles in which a large number of molecules are dissolved. In it, very important cellular processes take place, such as metabolic reactions or cellular communication and between organelles.


The part of plant cells that is known as cytoskeleton (cell skeleton) is made up of a set of protein filaments that are found throughout the cytoplasm.

In addition, briefly and simply explained, we can indicate that the cytoskeleton is a part of the plant cell that has functions of support, mobility and communication between the organelles in the plant cell.

Cellular membrane

The cell membrane or plasma membrane It is an essential part of the cell, in fact its breakdown could lead to cell death. It is made up mainly of lipids and proteins and thanks to it it is possible to regulate the balance between the inside and outside of the cell. It therefore supposes a physical barrier and in it there are also numerous chemical reactions essential for the plant cell.

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Cellulose cell wall

The cell wall of plant cell It is the external and rigid cover that is formed fundamentally by cellulose and its main function is to protection. This cell wall is the structure through which the different cells of plant tissues are connected.


Vacuole It represents between 80% and 90% of the volume of the plant cell and is surrounded by a vacuolar membrane. The content of this organelle is water or sugars among other components involved in the defense of the plant. The vacuole is responsible for maintaining the shape and size to the cell, as well as store substances.

Endoplasmic reticulum

The endoplasmic reticulum it is an organelle that is in contact with the nucleus and is formed by membranes forming flattened sacs. In the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) there are two well differentiated parts; the part of Rough RE and the RE smooth. The first has ribosomes (protein complexes responsible for the synthesis of proteins) associated with their membranes, these being more flattened and the smooth ER does not have ribosomes attached and also its membrane structure is more irregular. The main function of the ER is protein and lipid synthesis.

Chloroplast and mitochondria

The chloroplast and mitochondria are the organelles responsible for energy production in the cell. Both have an inner and an outer membrane.

In the mitochondrion, the inner membrane has a structure of folds or invaginations called ridges and the outer membrane is smooth. It is in this organelle where respiration occurs, where, from the metabolism of sugars, energy is obtained. On the other hand, chloroplast It is responsible for producing chlorophyll, which is responsible for absorbing light to carry out photosynthesis. Unlike the mitochondria, the inner membrane of the chloroplast is smooth and inside there are structures called thylakoids, where a series of proteins involved in photosynthesis are found.

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Golgi apparatus

The Golgi complex or apparatus it is a structure formed by flattened membrane sacs together with a network of tubules and vesicles. In it the synthesis and secretion of complex polysaccharides takes place and, in addition, in the cells of plants and other plants, it has a very important role in the formation of the cell wall.

Difference between plant and animal cell

Now that you have learned what are the parts of the plant cell and their functions, we want to clarify the similarities and differences between plant cell and animal cell.

There are parts in common between the plant and animal cells since both are eukaryotic cells, but there are also different structures between them.

  • On the one hand, the plant cell has a rigid outer cell wall formed by cellulose that is not present in the animal cell and that, in addition, gives it a more geometric appearance compared to the animal cell.
  • On the other hand, small and numerous vacuoles, while in the plant cell the normal thing is that there are few or one large cell.
  • Another difference between the two cells is that in the cytoplasm of the vegetable there is chloroplasts that allow the photosynthesis of plants, some of the parts of the plant cell that the animal does not have. However, in the latter there are structures called centrioles They are found in the cytoplasm as well and are not present in plant cells.

Here below you can see a table of the Differences between animal and plant cells and, in addition, here you can consult our article with more detailed information on this subject.

If you want to read more articles similar to Parts of the plant cell, we recommend that you enter our Biology category.

  • Atlas of Plant and Animal Histology:
  • Zeiger, Eduardo (2006). Plant physiology. Jaume I. University
  • Campos, Patricia (2002). Biology / Biology. Editorial Limusa / Vicens Vives.
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