Tertiary Growth – Definition & Detailed Explanation – Botanical Terms Glossary

What is Tertiary Growth?

Tertiary growth, also known as secondary growth, is the process by which plants increase in girth and diameter through the production of secondary tissues. This type of growth occurs in woody plants, such as trees and shrubs, and is responsible for the formation of wood and bark. Tertiary growth is essential for the structural support and longevity of plants, as well as for the transport of water and nutrients throughout the plant.

How does Tertiary Growth differ from Primary and Secondary Growth?

Primary growth is the initial growth of a plant, which occurs at the tips of roots and shoots and is responsible for the increase in length of the plant. Secondary growth, on the other hand, occurs in the lateral meristems of plants and is responsible for the increase in girth and diameter. Tertiary growth is a type of secondary growth that occurs in woody plants and is responsible for the formation of wood and bark.

What are the factors that influence Tertiary Growth?

Several factors influence tertiary growth in plants, including environmental conditions, genetic factors, and hormonal signals. Environmental conditions such as temperature, light, and water availability can affect the rate and extent of tertiary growth in plants. Genetic factors play a role in determining the potential for tertiary growth in different plant species. Hormonal signals, such as auxins and cytokinins, also play a crucial role in regulating tertiary growth in plants.

What are the different types of Tertiary Growth in plants?

There are two main types of tertiary growth in plants: vascular cambium and cork cambium. Vascular cambium is responsible for the production of secondary xylem and phloem, which make up the wood of a plant. Cork cambium, also known as phellogen, is responsible for the production of cork cells, which make up the bark of a plant. These two types of tertiary growth work together to increase the girth and diameter of woody plants.

How does Tertiary Growth contribute to the overall growth and development of plants?

Tertiary growth plays a crucial role in the overall growth and development of plants by providing structural support, increasing water and nutrient transport, and facilitating wound healing. The production of secondary xylem and phloem by the vascular cambium allows plants to grow taller and stronger, while the production of cork cells by the cork cambium protects the plant from external damage and pathogens. Tertiary growth also enables plants to adapt to changing environmental conditions and survive for long periods of time.

What are some examples of plants that exhibit significant Tertiary Growth?

Many woody plants exhibit significant tertiary growth, including trees such as oak, maple, and pine. These plants are able to grow to great heights and live for hundreds of years due to their ability to produce secondary tissues through tertiary growth. Other examples of plants that exhibit significant tertiary growth include shrubs such as rhododendron and holly, as well as vines such as grape and ivy. These plants rely on tertiary growth to support their structure, transport water and nutrients, and protect themselves from external threats.