Journal Article

Collenchyma: a versatile mechanical tissue with dynamic cell walls

Olivier Leroux

in Annals of Botany

Published on behalf of The Annals of Botany Company

Volume 110, issue 6, pages 1083-1098
Published in print November 2012 | ISSN: 0305-7364
Published online August 2012 | e-ISSN: 1095-8290 | DOI:
Collenchyma: a versatile mechanical tissue with dynamic cell walls

More Like This

Show all results sharing these subjects:

  • Ecology and Conservation
  • Evolutionary Biology
  • Plant Sciences and Forestry


Show Summary Details



Collenchyma has remained in the shadow of commercially exploited mechanical tissues such as wood and fibres, and therefore has received little attention since it was first described. However, collenchyma is highly dynamic, especially compared with sclerenchyma. It is the main supporting tissue of growing organs with walls thickening during and after elongation. In older organs, collenchyma may become more rigid due to changes in cell wall composition or may undergo sclerification through lignification of newly deposited cell wall material. While much is known about the systematic and organographic distribution of collenchyma, there is rather less information regarding the molecular architecture and properties of its cell walls.

Scope and conclusions

This review summarizes several aspects that have not previously been extensively discussed including the origin of the term ‘collenchyma’ and the history of its typology. As the cell walls of collenchyma largely determine the dynamic characteristics of this tissue, I summarize the current state of knowledge regarding their structure and molecular composition. Unfortunately, to date, detailed studies specifically focusing on collenchyma cell walls have not been undertaken. However, generating a more detailed understanding of the structural and compositional modifications associated with the transition from plastic to elastic collenchyma cell wall properties is likely to provide significant insights into how specific configurations of cell wall polymers result in specific functional properties. This approach, focusing on architecture and functional properties, is likely to provide improved clarity on the controversial definition of collenchyma.

Keywords: Collenchyma; histology; plant anatomy; mechanical tissue; plant cell wall; primary and secondary cell walls; plant biomechanics

Journal Article.  11634 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Ecology and Conservation ; Evolutionary Biology ; Plant Sciences and Forestry

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.