Cell Walls In Xylem: 7 Important Facts You Should Know

In this article, we are focusing on the cell wall of Xylem and discussing the facts about the Xylem cell wall and the topic is “Cell Walls in Xylem: 7 Important Facts You Should Know”.

Xylem is the vascular tissue found in plants, they play an important role in the transportation of water and nutrients dissolved in it in the upward motion from the bottom roots. They also play a part in the formation of woody element present in the stem.

Tracheary cells are known to be water-conducting cells, which forms the Xylem vascular tissue with other specialized cells. Phloem, a tissue that helps in transportation of sugars to the entire plant from the leaves. Xylem along with Phloem are found in vascular plants, such as, angiosperms, gymnosperms, horsetails, mosses and ferns.

Is there cell wall in Xylem?

Yes, xylem contains cell walls. Cell wall provides the characteristic shape and structure to the cells and also help the cells in containing the inner biomass content protected. Cell walls create a boundary between the inside and the outside environment of the cells.

The cell wall also helps in the water flow to the leaf from the roots. The walls in xylem cells are rich in lignin which provides the strength by binding to the polysaccharides and provides protection against the microbes and certain chemicals that degrades the cell walls.

cell walls in xylem
Xylem Cell Image from Wikipedia

What type of cell wall is in Xylem?

Thick secondary cell walls are the types of the cell wall that is present in the Xylem vessels. The cell walls are high in lignin and polysaccharides.

Why do Xylem have cell walls?

Xylem contains dead cells which are formed of thick cell walls and a high content of lignin. The reason for the thick cell walls is to provide less resistant to the flow of the solution mainly the water and other dissolved nutrients.

The vessels of the xylem contain mature non-dividing secondary cell walls in order to give the strength and mechanical support to the xylem and hence to conduct the water transportation smoothly.

Substances found in Xylem cell walls

The thick secondary cell walls which are found in Xylem cell walls are made up of Lignin, cellulose and hemicellulose. A woody substance called Lignin protects the Xylem vessels from collapsing under pressure conditions and supports it do the normal function.

The cells present in Xylem do not contain cytoplasm as they are dead cells. Xylem and phloem are both vascular tissues but they differ in their cell walls, Xylem contains thick cell walls while the Phloem contains thin cell walls.

Why are cell walls of xylem so thick?

The cell walls of Xylem vessels are dead, thick, lignified and contain pores as they function in water transportation from one tracheid to the other. The cell walls in Xylem are called secondary cell walls, which forms a passage for liquid movement with less resistance against the gravity force.

The physiology of Xylem plays an important role in determining the overall plant behavior. Xylem containing plants contains the genes which induces the formation of lignified thick secondary walls from the cells having thin walls.

Are Xylem cell walls rigid?

Yes, the cell walls of Xylem are rigid as it is made up of cellulose and lignin. Most these cell walls are rich in Lignin because of the high deposition of lignin in this permanent complex tissue and this cell wall in waterproof as well.

Xylem is composed of four components, these are, vessels, tracheid, fibers and parenchyma. The dead parts of xylem are, tracheid, fibers, vessels and the only living part is parenchyma.

Is Xylem cell wall permeable?

No, Xylem cell walls are not permeable to water as they have thick waterproof cell walls. Xylem contains dead cells and the cell walls are rich in lignin and are known as secondary cells walls. Secondary cell wall makes the cells rigid and provides the necessary support to the plant as a whole.


To conclude the article, we can say that Xylem contains cell walls, which are thick and impermeable. Xylem is a water and nutrient transport tissue found in all vascular plants and is significant for the functioning and overall growth of the plant.  

Read more about Is Cell Wall Permeable.

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