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cambium (kămˈbēəm), thin layer of generative tissue lying between the bark and the wood of a stem, most active in woody plants. The cambium produces new layers of phloem on the outside and of xylem (wood) on the inside, thus increasing the diameter of the stem. In herbaceous plants the cambium is almost inactive; in monocotyledonous plants it is usually absent. In regions where there are alternating seasons, each year's growth laid down by the cambium is discernible because of the contrast between the large wood elements produced in the spring and the smaller ones produced in the summer. These are the annual rings, by which the age of a tree can be established. A tree dies when it is “ringed,” or girdled, i.e., cut through the cambium layer. The cork cambium, which lies outside the phloem layer, produces the cork cells of bark.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



the formative tissue, or meristem, primarily in the roots and stems of dicotyledonous and gymnospermous plants. The cambium is in the shape of a monostichous concentric cylinder (in cross section, it appears annular). As a result of cambial activity, the axial organs grow in thickness. Secondary phloem is produced toward the outside of the axis, and secondary xylem toward the inside. Cambium originates from the cells of the procambium, which lie between the primary phloem and primary xylem. The pericycle plays an important role in the formation of the cambium in roots. It appears that there is no cambium in leaves; however, if there is any, its activity terminates at an early stage in leaf development.

Cambial cells are prosenchymatous in form—elongated, pointed (with beveled ends), and flat. They extend the length of the plant. Cambial cell walls are soft and consist of cellulose; the primary pit fields contain plasmodesmata. Cambial cells divide, becoming phloem cells (toward the outside of the cambium) or xylem cells (toward the interior of the plant). Usually, much more xylem is formed than phloem. As a result of the division of some cambial cells, tiny cells are formed; these make up phloem-xylem rays. The phloem forms on one side of the ray; the xylem, on the other.

During the autumn and winter, cambial activity ceases (intemperate zones). The periodic activity of the cambium resultsin the formation of annual rings. Depending on the character ofcell division, cambium is divided into storied and nonstoriedtypes. In some dicotyledons (such as beets), additional cambiallayers form consecutive rings toward the periphery (polycam-bium formation).


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


A layer of cells between the phloem and xylem of most vascular plants that is responsible for secondary growth and for generating new cells.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


The cellular layer of wood tissue between the bark and sapwood of a tree.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Architecture and Construction. Copyright © 2003 by McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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Cambia's first license was developed for plant molecular-enabling technologies, with subsequent licenses including one for health-related technologies, as well as a generic agreement for patented technologies and know-how.
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