Differences in structure and location The
primary or apical meristem is the tissue that arises from the main stem of the plant, while the lateral meristem is the laterally growing meristem of the plant. Apical meristems are also known as growing tips, which are found in growing shoots and growing roots. Lateral meristems are placed in such a way that they surround the apical meristem, thus always resulting in lateral growth. Lateral meristems help plants increase their width and increase their diameter. Apical meristems are very small compared to larger lateral meristems. Apical meristems are responsible for the primary growth of plant stems and roots, so they will help increase the length and height of the plant.
Primary meristems have many cells in which there is continuous growth. Most cells undergo mitosis in the apical meristem. Cells placed in the apical meristem have a box-like appearance.
The apical meristem usually differentiates into three types of meristems. Lateral meristems differentiate into 2 types of tissues, vascular and cork cambium. Likewise, the apical meristem is divided into problast, protocambium and ground meristem, which is responsible for the longitudinal growth of the plant.
The primary function of the apical meristem is to initiate the growth of new cells in the root and shoot tip seedlings. Lateral meristems are equally important because they are responsible for the free radical growth of the plant and start growing where the apical meristem stops growing. The vascular cambium produces woody growth in plants and maintains this ongoing process, lasting a lifetime. The apical meristem helps the plant grow deeper roots and provides strong support for the plant.
Since there are no lateral meristems, there are many plants that do not undergo secondary growth and are called herbs, while those that undergo woody growth are called plants.
There are many differences between apical and lateral meristems. Let us summarize the differences, the most important is that the function of the apical meristem is that of growth in length and lateral increase of stem and plant girth. Apical meristems are located at the root and root tips, thus resulting in increased plant height due to the proliferation of cells, and lateral meristems are located around the apical meristem and begin to grow once the apical meristem ceases to function. The size of the apical meristem is much smaller, while the size of the lateral meristem is much larger.