• Hirokazu Tsukaya


Meristems are a somewhat enigmatic concept. Esau (1960) described them as “embryonic tissue zones, the meristems, in which the addition of new cells continues.” Most molecular developmental biologists narrowly adopt a definition of meristems as proliferating tissues that maintain self-renewing stem cells under control of the WUSCHEL-RELATED HOMEOBOX (WOX) gene family. In fact, at least in the Arabidopsis thaliana (L.) Heynh., it is well known that WUSCHEL and WOX5 are expressed in shoot and apical meristems, respectively, and regulate stem cell maintenance. In this sense, the lateral meristem (or cambium tissue) is also a meristem, since WOX4 is known to function in the control of stem cell self-renewal. On the other hand, “meristematic tissues” such as intercalary meristems in leaves or stems are excluded by this definition at present because neither WOX gene expression nor stem cells have been observed in these tissues. Similarly, “meristemoid” is also a complex concept. In a meristemoid lineage, both self renewal and stem cell identity are recognized, but WOX genes are not known to have a role in these cells in A. thaliana. Are meristemoid tissues a form of meritems? The above confusion reveals that the definition of stem cells in plant science is not fully mature. The photographs in this chapter review a range of apical meristems and also a “leaf meristem.”


Apical Meristem Apical Cell Leaf Primordia Quiescent Centre Asymmetric Cell Division 
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Copyright information

© Springer Japan 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biological Sciences, Graduate School of ScienceThe University of TokyoTokyoJapan

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