Learning Objectives: 

  • Compare and contrast herbaceous and woody. 
  • Understand and explain primary and secondary growth; including types and locations of meristems, cambiums and vascular tissue. 
  • Identify and understand the function of lenticels.
  • Explain the production and structure of wood. 
  • Understand the diagnostic characteristics of stems; including identification of twigs, terminal buds, lateral buds, bud scales, bud scale scars, leaf scars,  vascular bundle scars, stipules, stipular scars.
  • List and identify the shape of stems.
  • List and identify the different types (or lack of) bud scales.

Classroom Resources:

  • Vegetative Morphology of Woody Plants notes
  • Apical meristem micrographs
  • Shoot Growth Activity
  • Stem Growth Activity
  • Organization of Secondary Growth Activity Part I:  The Vascular Cambium Activity
  • Organization of Secondary Growth Activity Part II:  The Cork Cambium and Annual Growth Activity
  • The Beauty of Wood Lab
  • Stem reading packet
  • Stem diagram handout
  • The Importance of Understanding Twigs Lab:  Understanding Twig and Bud Terminology
  • Exhibit I:  Twig Features
  • The Importance of Understanding Twigs Lab:  discovering Bud Arragnements on a Twig
  •  Living in the Environment reading excerpt - Temperate Deciduous Forest Biome

Vocabulary:

  • vegetative
  • morphology
  • habit
  • habitat
  • herbaceous
  • shrub
  • tree
  • vines
  • lianna
  • excurrent habit
  • decurrent habit
  • palm-like habit
  • yucca-like habit
  • woody plant


  • cross section
  • longitudinal section
  • primary growth
  • secondary growth
  • meristems
  • apical meristems
  • lateral meristems
  • vascular cambium
  • xylem (primary & secondary)
  • phloem  (primary & secondary)
  • vascular bundles
  • cork cambium
  • pathogens
  • epidermis
  • protoderm
  • procambium
  • ground meristem
  • dermal tissue
  • vascular tissue
  • fundamental tissue
  • cortex
  • phellem
  • phelloderm
  • cork
  • periderm


  • twig
  • terete
  • triangular
  • quadrangular
  • lenticels
  • terminal buds
  • lateral buds (axillary buds)
  • node
  • internode
  • bud scales
  • imbricate scales
  • valvate scales
  • naked buds
  • (terminal) bud scale scars
  • leaf scars
  • vascular bundle scars
  • stipules
  • stipular scars/lines
  • pith
  • stellar
  • diaphragm
  • chambered
  • solid/continuous
  • hollow
  • lammas shoots
  • thorns
  • spines
  • prickles
  • bark