AskDefine | Define parenchyma

Dictionary Definition



1 animal tissue that constitutes the essential part of an organ as contrasted with e.g. connective tissue and blood vessels
2 the primary tissue of higher plants composed of thin-walled cells that remain capable of cell division even when mature; constitutes the greater part of leaves, roots, the pulp of fruits, and the pith of stems

User Contributed Dictionary



From παρα- 'alongside' + εγχνμα 'an infusion'


  • (US) IPA: /pəˈrɛŋkəmə/


  1. the functional part of an organ, as opposed to supporting tissue
  2. the tissue making up most of the non-woody parts of a plant

Extensive Definition

Parenchyma is a term used to describe a bulk of a substance. It is used in different ways in animals and in plants.
The term is New Latin, from Greek parenkhuma, visceral flesh, from parenkhein, to pour in beside : para-, beside + en-, in + khein, to pour.

In animals

The parenchyma are the functional parts of an organ in the body. This is in contrast to the stroma, which refers to the structural tissue of organs, being exactly, connective tissues.
The mesodermal layer of the embryo develops into a loose collection of cells known as parenchyma tissue. This tissue occupies the entire space between the outer body wall and the endoderm of the gut.
Examples include:

In plants

Parenchyma cells are thin-walled cells of the ground tissue that make up the bulk of most nonwoody structures, yet sometimes their cell walls can be lignified. Parenchyma cells in between the epidermis and pericycle in a root or shoot constitute the cortex, and are used for storage of food. Parenchyma cells within the center of the root or shoot constitute the pith. Parenchyma cells in the ovary constitutes the nucellus and are brick-like in formation. Parenchyma cells in the leaf constitute the mesophyll; they are responsible for photosynthesis and they allow for the interchange of gases.


parenchyma in Catalan: Cèl·lules parenquimàtiques
parenchyma in Czech: Parenchym
parenchyma in German: Parenchym
parenchyma in Estonian: Põhikude
parenchyma in Spanish: Parénquima
parenchyma in Esperanto: Parenkimo
parenchyma in Basque: Parenkima
parenchyma in French: Parenchyme#Biologie_v.C3.A9g.C3.A9tale
parenchyma in Italian: Parenchima
parenchyma in Hungarian: Parenchima
parenchyma in Dutch: Parenchym
parenchyma in Japanese: 柔組織
parenchyma in Polish: Parenchyma
parenchyma in Portuguese: Parênquima
parenchyma in Russian: Паренхима
parenchyma in Slovak: Parenchým (botanika)
parenchyma in Serbian: Паренхимска ткива
parenchyma in Swedish: Parenkym
parenchyma in Chinese: 薄壁组织
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