10 January, 2008

Plant Propagation: Meristem and Terms

Meristem is a group of cells specialized for the production of new cells.

Apical meristem
is located at the tips of the plant, both above and below.

Basal meristem is located at the base.

Lateral meristem
is located all along the sides of a plant.

A node is horticultural speak for a concentration of meristematic tissue.

Growth in plants is an extremely complex phenomena. Botanists divide growth according to two different patterns:

Primary Growth
– growth occurring at the apical meristem (the tips of roots and shoots) which is primarily observed as stems moving more or less up and roots moving more or less down.

Secondary Growth – which is an “increase in girth” – occurring at the lateral meristematic tissue, which is called the cambium – that thin layer of life actively growing and dividing. It is the tissue that creates the cells that differentiate into secondary xylem (a.k.a. wood) and to the inner bark

Stock plants
many of us will use garden plants (or the neighbors!)

Ideally: Cut plant back several months before taking the real cuttings.

softest, youngest tissue - hardest to work with in a non-professional situation Most readily available in spring/early summer

Semi-ripe no clear dividing line softwood that is a little more mature will dry out less quickly late summer/fall

Hardwood - last year’s growth – most difficult to root, but sometimes the only way to root

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