Terminal Bud

Last updated: June 8, 2021

What Does Terminal Bud Mean?

The terminal bud is the dominant or the main bud of a plant that is responsible for all of its new growth. A terminal bud is typically located at the end of a plant stem.

The terminal (sometimes referred to as apical) bud is the main point of growth for a plant that contains specialized tissue known as the apical meristem. These are cells that are able to divide indefinitely and will ultimately produce all of the various tissues necessary for plant growth.

Diagram of a plant's terminal and axillary buds


Maximum Yield Explains Terminal Bud

In horticulture, buds are often used to help identify plants. A plant's buds may be classified and described according to different things like their location on the plant as well as their function.

The terminal bud is almost always produced at the top or end of growth on a plant (the tip of the stem). The term 'apical bud' is also used to refer to terminal buds, but is reserved for the top-most bud of the plant. Multi-branched species like trees or shrubs may have multiple terminal buds from which new branches will later form.

Most plants also have alternative or axillary buds located a little further down the stem, in the axils of the plant. The terminal bud releases a hormone that prevents axillary buds from growing or to grow slowly, which then allows the plant to grow taller to reach more light. When the apical bud is removed, the hormone signal stops and the axillary buds can grow more vigorously.

The amount and promotion of terminal buds on certain plants can be enhanced through careful pruning. If cut just below the point of a terminal bud, the plant will produce additional terminal buds. This technique is most often employed in orchards where a number of terminal buds are required for producing a good yield.



Apical Bud

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