Autumn.wmf (12088 bytes)Introduction to Organismal Biology (BIOL221) - Dr. S.G. Saupe; Biology Department, College of St. Benedict/St. John's University, Collegeville, MN 56321;;


Study Guide & Review for Plant Structure & Function



I. Goal:  The goal of this unit is to provide a basic understanding of plant structure and function.


II. Reading(s):  Chapter 35 (exc section 35.5).  There is a PowerPoint showing some vegetative structures in Moodle. 

III.  ObjectivesUpon completion of this unit you should be able to:

The General Plant

  1. Describe the different growth habits (forms) of plants (herb, shrub, tree, vine, forb)
  2. Compare and contrast annuals, biennials and perennials.
  3. Compare and contrast deciduous vs. evergreen
  4. Name and describe the three major vegetative organs of vascular plants.  What is their function?
  5. Describe the four major tissue systems that make up plant organs.  For each tissue, describe one characteristic structural feature and explain its functional significance.
  6. Describe and distinguish between the three basic cell types of plant tissues. 
  7. Which type of cells do you like to eat: collenchyma, parenchyma or sclerenchyma?  Why?


  1. Identify the basic functions of roots. 
  2. Describe and compare the structures and functions of fibrous roots, taproots, root hairs, and adventitious roots.
  3. Explain the structure and function of root hairs.  From what part of the root are they derived?
  4. Describe the difference between a root hair and a root branch (branch root).
  5. Describe the nature and importance of mycorrhizae
  6. Identify some common root crops.
  7. Explain why root crops are often biennials.


  1. Label the parts of a typical woody plant stem using the terms - node, internode, bud, terminal bud, axillary bud, bud scale, terminal bud scale scar, leaf scar, lenticel, vascular bundle scar.
  2. Explain how to determine the age of twig.
  3. Describe the anatomy of a herbaceous stem.  How do the stems of eudicots differ from monocots? 
  4. Describe the anatomy of a woody stem. Use terms such as bark, wood, periderm, xylem, phloem, annual ring, vascular cambium, summer wood, spring wood, vascular rays,  heartwood, sapwood.
  5. Compare and contrast rhizomes, stolons, bulbs, and tubers.  Give an example of each.
  6. Explain how to tell the difference between a root and an underground stem.
  7. Identify some common crops in which the stem is the primary tissue that is eaten.
  8. Explain the phenomenon of apical dominance.


  1. Identify the major parts of a leaf
  2. Describe the internal anatomy of a leaf and identify the function of each part using terms such as:  cuticle, epidermis, palisade layer, spongy layer, vein (vascular bundle), xylem, phloem, stomata.  Relate each term to its function relating to photosynthesis.
  3. Identify some leaf crops that are commonly eaten
  4. Explain why leaves are broad AND thin

Plant Growth and Development

  1. Distinguish between determinate and indeterminate growth.  Give an example of each type of growth.
  2. Explain this statement: �In contrast to most animals, which have a stage of embryonic growth, plants have regions of embryonic growth.�
  3. Define meristem.
  4. Name the four types of meristems and give the function of each. 
  5. Describe the shoot apical meristem
  6. Describe the root apical meristem

 IV.  Common Terms/Concepts (can you use the following terms/concepts conversationally?)

  • adventitious root
  • annual
  • axillary (lateral) bud
  • biennial
  • blade
  • bud
  • bud scale
  • bud scale scar
  • bulb
  • corm
  • crown
  • cuticle
  • deciduous
  • epidermis
  • evergreen


  • fibrous root
  • internode
  • leaf
  • lenticel
  • meristem
  • mycorrhizae
  • node
  • palisade layer
  • perennial
  • petiole
  • rhizome
  • root
  • root hair
  • runner


  • shoot
  • simple leaves
  • spongy layer
  • stem
  • stipules
  • stomata
  • tap root
  • tendril
  • tuber
  • tuberous root
  • vascular bundle scar
  • vascular tissue
  • vegetative
  • vein


Some Questions

  1. Circle all of the terms that apply to the following species:


herb shrub tree vine herbaceous woody annual biennial perennial deciduous evergreen


herb shrub tree vine herbaceous woody annual biennial perennial deciduous evergreen

White oak tree:

herb shrub tree vine herbaceous woody annual biennial perennial deciduous evergreen


herb shrub tree vine herbaceous woody annual biennial perennial deciduous evergreen

Scotch pine:

herb shrub tree vine herbaceous woody annual biennial perennial deciduous evergreen


V.  More Questions:  Can you.....

  1. name the major organs of a plant and identify their function?
  2. identify some common crops derived from roots?
  3. identify some common crops derived from stems, including tubers, rhizomes, corms and bulbs?
  4. identify some common crops derived from leaves?
  5. identify which organs are considered vegetative? reproductive?

VI. Activities (some learning activities and tips for studying)

  1. prepare written answers to the objectives
  2. write a dialog using as many of the terms in the chapter as possible
  3. answer the questions at the end of the chapter in the text
  4. visit the text website and work through questions, etc.   
  5. write a definition for each of the terms listed in the text/notes above. Give a specific example of each term
  6. spend approximately 2 hours per class studying this material
  7. read the summary at the chapter

VI. Extensions

  1. Obtain a twig from a tree. Can you locate the structures shown in the text?
  2. Examine the cross-section of a woody stem in the display case outside of the herbarium. Can you locate the features described in the text?
  3. View the "Private Lives of Plants" Videos in the Alcuin Library

VII. Questions
: After completing the activities, write any question(s) that you still have concerning the objectives or that pertain to related areas.  Check the text or other sources for the answers.  Or, contact me!


VIII. Application: Write one or more ways in which you can immediately apply this information to your daily life.


XII. Assessment: Meet with one or more members of the class to help assess that you have attained the objective and to help deepen your understanding of the material. Answer the questions at the end of the chapters. Write your own exam questions. Go through the CD-ROM.  Visit the text book web site and answer the questions for chapter 34.

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Last updated: January 16, 2009        � Copyright by SG Saupe