Types and Functions
Plant cells are of three basic types namely, parenchyma, collenchyma and sclerenchyma. These cells have different structures and perform varied roles in the overall functioning of the plant.
The parenchyma cells are living and perform multiple functions including food storage, light harvesting, and gas exchange. Some of them have the ability to differentiate and re-differentiate into different types of cells (totipotent) as per the requirements of the plant. Parenchyma cells are present in the leaves, tubers, and seeds.
Collenchyma cells are living only during maturity and possess two walls (primary and secondary). Initially, they are similar to parenchyma cells, which later differentiates into specific collenchyma cells. They are present in the vascular bundles and stems, and aid in supporting the plant during the active growing phase.
Parts and Functions
The plant cell organelles play an essential role in carrying out the regular activities of the cell. For example, photosynthesis which is a characteristic of the plants is performed in the chloroplast; while synthesis of ATP (adenosine triphosphate), a form of energy, takes place in the mitochondria.
Thus, a plant cell functions smoothly with the help of its various structural components. Though it is eukaryotic like that of animals, it differs significantly from an animal cell. While there may be a few similarities between plant and animal cells, the key distinguishing feature between the two is the presence of a cell wall and chloroplast in plant cells, both of which are absent in animal cells. If viewed under the microscope, one can see large, prominent vacuoles at the center of a plant cell, whereas an animal cell comprises only a small, inconspicuous vacuole.