In biology, tissue is a historically derived biological organizational level between cells and a complete organ. A tissue is therefore often thought of as assembly of similar cells and their extracellular matrix from the same origin that together carry out a specific function. Organs are then formed by the functional grouping together of multiple tissues.
The study of tissues is known as histology or, in connection with disease, as histopathology. Xavier Bichat is considered as the "Father of Histology". Plant histology is studied in both plant anatomy and physiology. The classical tools for studying tissues are the paraffin block in which tissue is embedded and then sectioned, the histological stain, and the optical microscope. Developments in electron microscopy, immunofluorescence, and the use of frozen tissue-sections have enhanced the detail that can be observed in tissues. With these tools, the classical appearances of tissues can be examined in health and disease, enabling considerable refinement of medical diagnosis and prognosis.
Meristematic tissue consists of actively dividing cells and leads to increase in length and thickness of the plant. The primary growth of a plant occurs only in certain specific regions, such as in the tips of stems or roots. It is in these regions that meristematic tissue is present. Cells of this type of tissue are roughly spherical or polyhedral to rectangular in shape, with thin cell walls. New cells produced by meristem are initially those of meristem itself, but as the new cells grow and mature, their characteristics slowly change and they become differentiated as components of meristematic tissue, being classified as:
The cells of meristematic tissue are similar in structure and have a thin and elastic primary cell wall made of cellulose. They are compactly arranged without inter-cellular spaces between them. Each cell contains a dense cytoplasm and a prominent cell nucleus. The dense protoplasm of meristematic cells contains very few vacuoles. Normally the meristematic cells are oval, polygonal, or rectangular in shape.
Meristematic tissue cells have a large nucleus with small or no vacuoles because they have no need to store anything, as opposed to their function of multiplying and increasing the girth and length of the plant, with no intercellular spaces.
Permanent tissues may be defined as a group of living or dead cells formed by meristematic tissue and have lost their ability to divide and have permanently placed at fixed positions in the plant body. Meristematic tissues that take up a specific role lose the ability to divide. This process of taking up a permanent shape, size and a function is called cellular differentiation. Cells of meristematic tissue differentiate to form different types of permanent tissues. There are 2 types of permanent tissues:
Collenchymatous tissue acts as a supporting tissue in stems of young plants. It provides mechanical support, elasticity, and tensile strength to the plant body. It helps in manufacturing sugar and storing it as starch. It is present in the margin of leaves and resists tearing effect of the wind.
Sclerenchyma (Greek, Sclerous means hard and enchyma means infusion) consists of thick-walled, dead cells and protoplasm is negligible. These cells have hard and extremely thick secondary walls due to uniform distribution and high secretion of lignin and have a function of providing mechanical support. They do not have inter-molecular space between them. Lignin deposition is so thick that the cell walls become strong, rigid and impermeable to water which is also known as a stone cell or sclereids. These tissues are mainly of two types: sclerenchyma fiber and sclereids.Sclerenchyma fibre cells have a narrow lumen and are long, narrow and unicellular. Fibers are elongated cells that are strong and flexible, often used in ropes. Sclereids have extremely thick cell walls and are brittle, and are found in nutshells and legumes.