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Parenchyma Cells vs. Collenchyma Cells: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Harlon Moss || Published on February 7, 2024
Parenchyma cells are the primary living cells in plants, versatile and involved in photosynthesis, while collenchyma cells provide support and flexibility, with thicker cell walls.

Key Differences

Parenchyma cells are fundamental plant cells known for their thin cell walls and roles in photosynthesis, storage, and healing. Collenchyma cells, distinguishable by their thicker, uneven cell walls, provide mechanical support and flexibility to growing parts of plants.
In parenchyma cells, the thin walls and large vacuoles facilitate various metabolic functions, including storage and photosynthesis. Collenchyma cells, with their elastic walls, allow for plant growth and bending without breaking, essential in areas like stems and leaves.
Parenchyma cells are often found throughout the plant, including in fruits, leaves, and roots, playing a versatile role. Collenchyma cells are usually located under the epidermis or in leaf veins, providing tensile strength.
The ability of parenchyma cells to divide and differentiate makes them key in wound healing and regeneration in plants. Collenchyma cells, while less versatile, are crucial in supporting young parts of the plant and enabling structural integrity.
Parenchyma cells can adapt to different functions, including aeration (aerenchyma) or storage (chlorenchyma). Collenchyma cells, primarily supportive, can adjust their thickness and composition in response to mechanical stress.

Comparison Chart

Cell Wall

Thin and flexible
Thicker and uneven

Primary Function

Photosynthesis, storage, healing
Mechanical support and flexibility

Location in Plants

Throughout the plant (leaves, fruits, roots)
Under epidermis, in leaf veins

Ability to Divide

Can divide and differentiate
Less versatile in division


Highly adaptable to various functions
Adjusts to mechanical stress

Parenchyma Cells and Collenchyma Cells Definitions

Parenchyma Cells

Parenchyma cells are basic plant cells with thin walls and large vacuoles.
The juicy part of an apple consists of parenchyma cells.

Collenchyma Cells

They provide mechanical support and elasticity.
Collenchyma cells in stems allow plants to bend in the wind.

Parenchyma Cells

They are involved in photosynthesis, storage, and healing.
In leaves, parenchyma cells contain chloroplasts for photosynthesis.

Collenchyma Cells

These cells adapt their thickness in response to mechanical stress.
Collenchyma cells thicken in windy environments for extra support.

Parenchyma Cells

Parenchyma cells adapt to various roles like aeration and storage.
In aquatic plants, aerenchyma parenchyma cells facilitate gas exchange.

Collenchyma Cells

Collenchyma cells are plant cells with thickened, flexible cell walls.
The strings of celery are primarily made of collenchyma cells.

Parenchyma Cells

Parenchyma cells can differentiate and aid in plant regeneration.
After leaf damage, parenchyma cells help in tissue repair.

Collenchyma Cells

Collenchyma cells are less versatile in division compared to parenchyma.
Collenchyma cells provide structural integrity to growing shoots.

Parenchyma Cells

These cells are essential for the plant's metabolic functions.
In roots, parenchyma cells store starch.

Collenchyma Cells

Collenchyma cells are found in young plant parts, like stems and leaves.
The veins of a leaf contain collenchyma cells for support.


What is the main function of collenchyma cells?

The main function of collenchyma cells is to provide support and flexibility to growing plant parts.

Where are parenchyma cells found?

Parenchyma cells are found throughout the plant, including in leaves, fruits, and roots.

Can parenchyma cells aid in plant healing?

Yes, parenchyma cells can divide and differentiate, aiding in plant healing and regeneration.

Are collenchyma cells found in mature plant parts?

Collenchyma cells are primarily found in young plant parts, less so in mature tissues.

What are parenchyma cells?

Parenchyma cells are basic plant cells involved in various functions like photosynthesis and storage.

What kind of mechanical stress can collenchyma cells withstand?

Collenchyma cells can withstand bending and stretching, providing flexibility to plants.

Are parenchyma cells capable of storing nutrients?

Yes, parenchyma cells can store nutrients like starch and water.

What is the cell wall structure of parenchyma cells?

Parenchyma cells have thin and flexible cell walls.

What defines collenchyma cells?

Collenchyma cells are plant cells characterized by thicker, flexible walls for mechanical support.

How do collenchyma cells respond to environmental changes?

Collenchyma cells can adjust their thickness and elasticity in response to environmental factors like wind.

Do parenchyma cells play a role in photosynthesis?

Yes, parenchyma cells, especially those with chloroplasts, are involved in photosynthesis.

How do parenchyma cells contribute to a plant's metabolism?

Parenchyma cells are central to metabolic processes like photosynthesis and nutrient storage.

Do parenchyma cells have a role in fruit ripening?

Yes, parenchyma cells are involved in the ripening process of fruits.

Can parenchyma cells change their function?

Parenchyma cells are highly adaptable and can change their function as needed.

How do collenchyma cells contribute to plant growth?

Collenchyma cells support and protect young plant parts, enabling growth and flexibility.

What types of parenchyma cells exist?

Types include chlorenchyma for photosynthesis and aerenchyma for gas exchange.

Can collenchyma cells be found in all plants?

Collenchyma cells are common in many plants, especially where flexibility is needed.

Do collenchyma cells have secondary cell walls?

Collenchyma cells typically do not have secondary cell walls; their primary walls are thickened for support.

Are collenchyma cells involved in photosynthesis?

Collenchyma cells are primarily supportive and not directly involved in photosynthesis.

How do collenchyma cells enhance plant survival?

By providing mechanical strength and flexibility, collenchyma cells enhance a plant's ability to withstand environmental stress.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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