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Difference between Collenchyma and Sclerenchyma

Biology is a varied study of humans, animals, and plants. The systems due to which the human body, animals, and plants work are listed in biology. So, today we will be discussing about plants. Plants are one of the crucial creations on earth. Flora and fauna support millions of species in the world.

Plants are a source of living for humans, animals, and various other species. Many birds have their home in these plants. Now, what are plants made of? Well, to be precise, plants are made up of tissues that strengthen them and provide them with food and water. Plants are able to survive because of such tissues. Two of these tissues are collenchyma and sclerenchyma. Let us discuss them in detail.

Collenchyma vs Sclerenchyma


Collenchyma is defined as a tissue that supports the plant in its growth. Collenchyma is responsible for protecting and ensuring the long life of the cells present in plants. These cells are protected by thick primary walls. The collenchyma is found in leaf veins, young stems, and petioles. Collenchyma is also responsible for carrying out the function of storing food and photosynthesis. This supporting tissue comprises of cellulose, hemicellulose, etc. Since it is a supporting tissue, it ensures and supports the plant structure, strength, and flexibility. For instance, when we bend small shoots of plants, they do not break because of the collenchyma present in them. The main function of collenchyma is to support the growth of a plant and ensure its long life. The cell walls present in collenchyma are irregular and thick.


Sclerenchyma is also a supporting tissue. These are dead narrow cells located in the cell walls.

Sclerenchyma is found in the outer layer of leaves and stems. This tissue makes the plant stiff and hard. This supporting tissue has lignin, and cell walls are relatively thick. The shape, structure, and size of sclerenchyma differ from each other. The major function of sclerenchyma is to protect the plant and provide support so that it is not damaged. Sclerenchyma is of two types, i.e., fibers (used for providing mechanical support to the plants) and sclereids (irregular branch-shaped structures). Unlike collenchyma, sclerenchyma has secondary walls. Now, you must be wondering, what is the difference between collenchyma and sclerenchyma. Well, the difference between them is given below.

1. Collenchyma is defined as a supporting tissue that helps in the growth of the plants. On the other hand, sclerenchyma is also a supporting tissue that helps in protecting the plants.
2. Collenchyma ensures that food and water reach every bit of the plant. Sclerenchyma ensures that the plant is protected from the external environment.
3. Collenchyma has primary cell walls. Sclerenchyma has secondary cell walls.
4. There are four main types of collenchyma. They are:
  • Angular Collenchyma
  • Tangible Collenchyma
  • Lacunar Collenchyma
  • Annular Collenchyma
There are two major kinds of sclerenchyma. They are:
  • Fibers
  • Sclereids
1. The cells of collenchyma are located in the petioles, young stems, and leaf veins. On the other hand, sclerenchyma is found in the mature areas of the plant.
2. Collenchyma has specialized cells and a thin cell wall. Sclerenchyma has specialized cells and a thick cell wall. The cell wall is rigid.
3. The cell wall in collenchyma is made up of pectin and cellulose. The cell wall of sclerenchyma is made up of lignin.
4. Collenchyma has living cells. Sclerenchyma has dead cells.
5. This supporting tissue provides strength to the plant. This supporting tissue provides support and protection to the plants.
6. The major function of collenchyma is to protect the plants from damage. For instance, collenchyma helps in resisting the plants from bending. The major function of sclerenchyma is to protect the plant and ensures its growth through the transportation of food, nutrients, and water.

So, these are some of the differences regarding collenchyma and sclerenchyma. It is interesting to note that both are the supporting tissues, but the functions they perform are different. These two are the significant kinds of plant tissues. Now, both collenchyma and sclerenchyma perform certain functions. So, let us take a look at them.

Functions of Collenchyma

  1. This is a mechanical tissue that ensures the growth of the plant.
  2. The plants have elasticity and flexibility in them.
  3. The cells in collenchyma have chloroplast.
  4. These cells are used for producing starch and sugar.
  5. The plant body becomes strengthened and protected due to the collenchyma cells.
  6. Collenchyma has living cells with a thin cell wall.

Functions of Sclerenchyma

  1. Sclerenchyma provides strength to the plant body.
  2. The cell walls are thick, which makes the plant stiff and hard.
  3. Despite being hard and stiff, the plants possess flexibility and elasticity.
  4. The cells in sclerenchyma have a high content of cellulose, i.e., around 70% - 80%.
  5. Sclerenchyma has primary and secondary cell walls.
  6. Sclerenchyma has dead cells with a thick and rigid cell wall.

So, these are some functions performed by the collenchyma and sclerenchyma. Now, there are several types of collenchyma and sclerenchyma. So, let us discuss the significant kinds of collenchyma and sclerenchyma.

Types of Collenchyma

  1. Angular Collenchyma: Angular Collenchyma is the cell responsible for the thickening the corners of the cell wall.
  2. Annular Collenchyma: These are the supporting cells found in the epidermis of the plant. These cells are responsible for thickening of the cellulose.
  3. Lacunar Collenchyma: Lacunar Collenchyma is generally found in fruit walls. These cells are responsible for carrying out the structure and strength of the plant.
  4. Tangential Collenchyma: In this type of collenchymas, the cells are arranged orderly in rows. The cell wall is thickened in this type of collenchymas.

Types of Sclerenchyma:

  1. Fibres: Fibers are present in the form of bundles in the stem. Fibers are generally associated with xylem and phloem present in the plant tissues. Fibers are long thick walls comprising of dead cells. The fibers in plants are responsible for supporting the internal structure of the plant.
  2. Sclereids: Sclereids are generally found in fruits (necessarily the pulp). They vary in shape, size, and structure. They also provide support to the internal structure of the planting, thereby strengthening them.

So, these are the significant kinds of collenchyma and sclerenchyma. Both of them perform different functions, but both have one point of similarity, i.e., both ensure the protection and growth of the plant. Both are responsible for strengthening the plant internally as well as externally. Thus, collenchyma and sclerenchyma are the most important parts of the plants.

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