Secondary Growth

Last Updated: September 23, 2019

Definition - What does Secondary Growth mean?

Secondary growth in plants refers to the development that occurs when cells divide into the lateral meristems or cambia. Secondary growth causes both the roots and stems to thicken. This is different from primary growth, which causes cells to divide and roots to elongate. In most cases, secondary growth occurs in seed plants.

MaximumYield explains Secondary Growth

In some cases, secondary growth can occur in non-woody plants, including sweet potato tuberous roots, carrot taproots, potato tubers, and tomatoes. Secondary growth has a direct impact on the stem and root’s girth. When secondary growth occurs in vascular plants, it is directly linked to the activity between the vascular cambium and cork cambium.

Dicots can from time to time exhibit abnormal secondary growth. For example, in bougainvillea, cambia can emerge from the outside of the plant’s oldest phloem. Secondary growth is important since it enables the trunks to support the plant’s overall weight as it grows bigger and bulkier. Secondary growth can also lengthen the lifespan of certain trees.

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