Difference Between Cork Cambium and Vascular Cambium

Main Difference – Cork Cambium vs Vascular Cambium

Cork cambium and vascular cambium are the two cambiums found in woody plants. The action of both cork and vascular cambium increases the diameter of the stem as well as the root. The main difference between cork cambium and vascular cambium is that cork cambium produces the cork and the secondary cortex whereas vascular cambium produces secondary xylem and secondary phloem. Cork cambium develops from the secondary lateral meristem while vascular cambium develops from the apical meristem. Cork cambium provides protection to the stem and root while preventing the water loss. Since vascular cambium produces lignified cells, it provides the structural support to the plant.

Key Areas Covered

1. What is Cork Cambium
      – Definition, Characteristics, Function
2. What is Vascular Cambium
      – Definition, Characteristics, Function
3. What are the Similarities Between Cork Cambium and Vascular Cambium
      – Outline of Common Features
4. What is the Difference Between Cork Cambium and Vascular Cambium
      – Comparison of Key Differences

Key Terms: Annual Rings, Apical Meristem, Cork, Cork Cambium, Secondary Growth, Secondary Lateral Meristem, Secondary Phloem, Secondary Xylem, Vascular CambiumDifference Between Cork Cambium and Vascular Cambium - Comparison Summary

What is Cork Cambium

Cork cambium is the layer of cambium that is formed from the secondary lateral meristem, immediately beneath the epidermis. Cork cambium is composed of parenchyma and collenchyma cells. That means it has the ability to divide.  The cork cells (phellem) are produced on the outer side of the cork cambium.  Phelloderm (cork parenchyma cells) is produced on the inner side of cork cambium. The cork cells, cork cambium, and the parenchyma are collectively known as the periderm.

Difference Between Cork Cambium and Vascular Cambium

Figure 1: Cork Cambium

Matured cork cells contain suberin, which is a fatty substance, preventing the water loss. Due to the presence of suberin, the cork cells are dead cells. The gas exchange from the inner parts of the trunk occurs through the lenticels. The cork cambium is shown in figure 1. 

What is Vascular Cambium

Vascular cambium is the cylindrical secondary lateral meristem, which gives rise to the secondary xylem and secondary phloem. The vascular cambium produces secondary xylem on the inside of the cambium ring, and secondary phloem on the outside. The activity of the vascular cambium is under the influence of the season. In summer, the vascular cambium produces wider xylem vessels to conduct more water to the leaves since the rate of photosynthesis is higher during the summer. But in winter, since the photosynthetic rates are low, the vascular cambium produces tiny xylem vessels. This produces annual rings in the stem. The secondary components of the stem are shown in figure 2.

Main Difference - Cork Cambium vs Vascular Cambium

Figure 2: Secondary Components of the Stem

Similarities Between Cork Cambium and Vascular Cambium

  • Cork cambium and vascular cambium are involved in the secondary growth of the stem and root, which increases the diameter.
  • Both cork cambium and vascular cambium originate from the meristematic tissue.
  • Both cork cambium and vascular cambium are capable of actively dividing.
  • Both cork cambium and vascular cambium are found in cylindrical rings.
  • Both cork cambium and vascular cambium produce cells that provide protection and structural support to the plant.
  • Both cork cambium and vascular cambium are found in dicots.

Difference Between Cork Cambium and Vascular Cambium

Definition

Cork Cambium: Cork cambium is the lateral ring of the meristematic tissue in woody plants, which produces the cork on its outer surface and the phelloderm on its inner surface.

Vascular Cambium: Vascular cambium is the cylindrical layer of meristematic tissue found between the primary xylem and primary phloem.

Development

Cork Cambium: Cork cambium develops from the secondary lateral meristem.

Vascular Cambium: Vascular cambium develops from the apical meristem.

Location

Cork Cambium: Cork cambium is located outside the vascular tissues.

Vascular Cambium: Vascular cambium is located between primary xylem and primary phloem.

Produce

Cork Cambium: Cork cambium gives rise to the bark and the secondary cortex.

Vascular Cambium: Vascular cambium gives rise to the secondary xylem and secondary phloem.

Other Structures

Cork Cambium: Cork cambium also produces the lenticels.

Vascular Cambium: Vascular cambium also produces the medullary rays.

Function

Cork Cambium: Cork cambium provides protection against physical damage and prevents water loss.

Vascular Cambium: Vascular cambium produces vascular tissue to help the conduction inside the plant and provides structural support to the plant.

Conclusion

Cork cambium and vascular cambium are two types of cambium in plants that are involved in the secondary growth. Both cork cambium and vascular cambium are meristematic tissues. The cork cambium originates from the secondary lateral meristem while the vascular cambium originates from the apical meristem. The cork cambium gives rise to the bark and the secondary cortex. The vascular cambium gives rise to the secondary xylem and secondary phloem. This the main difference between cork cambium and vascular cambium.

Reference:

1.“ Cork cambium.” Afzender, Available here. Accessed 27 Aug. 2017.
2.Nieminen, Kaisa, et al. “Vascular Cambium Development.” The Arabidopsis Book / American Society of Plant Biologists, American Society of Plant Biologists, 2015, Available here. Accessed 27 Aug. 2017.

Image Courtesy:

1. “Cork cambium 2″ By Kje4532 – Own work (CC BY-SA 4.0) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Tree secondary components diagram” By Brer Lappin – Own work (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia

About the Author: Lakna

Lakna, a graduate in Molecular Biology & Biochemistry, is a Molecular Biologist and has a broad and keen interest in the discovery of nature related things

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