Caption: Pear fruit sclerenchyma cells (Pyrus sp.) - sclereids / stone cells. Shown here is a section through a pear fruit revealing a cluster of sclereids, also known as stone cells. Sclereids are cells composed of thick cell walls that surround only a very small central cell cavity. The thick cell walls consist of cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin (a few thin walled parenchyma cells are also present). The small holes within the cell wall layers are called plasmodesmata. Sclerenchyma is a type of supporting tissue in plants. There are two types of sclerenchyma cells: fibers and sclereids. Sclerenchyma cells are the principal supporting cells in plant tissues that have ceased elongation. Mature sclerenchyma is composed of dead cells with extremely thick cell walls (secondary walls) that make up to 90% of the whole cell volume. Sclerenchyma fibers are of great economical importance, since they constitute the source material for many fabrics (flax, hemp, jute, ramie). A pear is a pomaceous fruit produced by a tree of the genus Pyrus. The pear is classified within Maloideae, a subfamily of the family Rosaceae. A major distinction of this fruit is the occurrence of lignified cells known as "sclereids" or "stone cells".
Magnification*: x160
Type: SEM
Copyright 2008 Dennis Kunkel Microscopy, Inc.
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