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Basswood Stem (2nd Year), 400X
The pith and cortex both store food, obtained from the phloem. The xylem transports water up to the leaves. Summer xylem cells are smaller than spring xylem cells. Summer xylem is more dense and appears darker than spring xylem. The vascular cambium is the growth ring that produces new xylem and phloem each year – the pictured stem is 3 years old. The phloem transports sap down toward the root. The cork protects the stem from drying out and parasites and the cork cambium produces new cork annually. The vascular cambium produces the new xylem and phloem annually. The primary xylem is the xylem that was made in the first year’s growth by the apical meristem as the new stem was produced. Secondary xylem is made every year after as the stem grows in girth.