Last updated: March 28, 2019

What Does Phloem Mean?

In botany, the phloem is the living organism inside the plant that distributes the organic compounds that are created during photosynthesis. Known as translocation, this transport process ensures the proper growth and development of the plant.

In trees and other woody plants, the phloem is found in the innermost layer of the tree’s bark. Phloem tissue is made up of conducting cells as well as supportive cells such as sclereids and fibers.


Maximum Yield Explains Phloem

Unlike xylem tissue, which tends to wither and die after 12 months before regenerating, the phloem is always active. The phloem contains living cells that distribute sap, a water-based and sugary solution, throughout the plant.

Because it is so rich in nutrients, the phloem is often used for nutritional purposes among humans. In Finland, for example, this part of the plant was commonly used as a food substitute during famines. A widely reported case is the famine of 1860, when phloem was used to prevent starvation as it was dried before being milled into flour and mixed with some rye to make bread.

In ancient times, phloem derived from silver birch trees was also used to make flour.


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