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Single cells or aggregates of cells whose principal function is thought to be mechanical support of plants or plant parts. Sclerenchyma cells have thick secondary walls and may or may not remain alive when mature. They vary greatly in form and are of widespread occurrence in vascular plants. Two general types, sclereids and fibers, are widely recognized, but since these intergrade, the distinction is sometimes arbitrary.

McGraw-Hill Concise Encyclopedia of Bioscience. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



in plants, mechanical tissue consisting of two types of thick-walled and usually woody cells: fibers and sclereids.

The fibers are greatly elongated cells, usually ranging in length from fractions of an mm to 1 cm (nettles). Some plants, for example, the ramie, have fibers reaching 4 cm in length. The fibers have sharp ends and porous layered walls. Nonwoody fibers of sclerenchyma having cellulose walls, for example, in flax, are a valuable raw material for the textile industry. Sclerenchyma fibers are as durable as steel and as resilient and elastic as rubber. The amount and distribution of the fibers determine a plant organ’s durability when subjected to stretching, compression, and bending.

In many plants the fibers form a mechanical facing for the vascular bundles. In the stems of dicotyledons they are found mainly in the pericycle and the primary phloem. In the stems and leaves of monocotyledons the fibers often form subepidermal cords, whereas in the roots they are concentrated primarily in the center. In addition to fibers of first derivation formed from the cells of the basic meristem and procambium, the term “sclerenchyma” is also applied to phloem and xylem (libriform) fibers of cambial origin.

For information on sclereids see.


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


A supporting plant tissue composed principally of sclereids whose walls are often mineralized.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
This leaf region was selected because the basal part of the leaf has quicker maturation of the sclerenchyma and vascular tissues (BECK, 2010).
A sclerenchyma layer with sclereids or fibers may occur between the typical nutritive tissue and the outer tissue compartments in insect galls (Fig.
Stomatal index (Stom index), stomatal density (Stom dens), midrib, bulliform cells (BC), sclerenchyma fibers (Fibers), mesophyll of the leaf blade (Mes), coefficient of variation (CV) and simple medium deviation (SMD).
(1) = epidermis, (2) = aerenchyma, (3) = septum, (4) = parenchyma, (5) = vascular bundle, and (6) = sclerenchyma.
Vascular bundles have sclerenchyma only at phloem pole.
(1996), plants in broad sunshine had a greater amount of sclerenchyma tissues and mesophyll cells with thicker walls than those in the shade.
Pine cone is composed of epidermal and sclerenchyma cells which contain cellulose, hemicellulose, lignin, rosin, and tannins in their cell walls which contains polar functional groups such as alcohols, aldehydes, ketones, carboxylic, phenolic, and other groups [16].
Occasionally, septal spines are very scarce or absent, but the wall presents undulations in the sclerenchyma as septal projections.
Leaf blade cross section obovate, 0.65-1.1 mm in diameter, with 7 veins; sclerenchyma forming a complete ring with a thickness of 3-4 cells, 2-4 grooves, 1-3 ridges (Figures 1a, 1b, 1c).
a tissue that lies in between the dermal tissues and around the vascular tissues), in this case primarily sclerenchyma, which is composed of thick-walled, usually lignified cells.