The characteristics of secondary growth of wood

The phloem system:
Few secondary phloem cells are produced along with the secondary xylem cells by the vascular cambium system. The outward growth makes pushing of primary phloem cells that breaks most of the cortical tissues, leaving the thick-walled fibers as remnants.

The cambium initiates the ray parenchyma cells that gives rise to phloem rays and moves towards the stem center called the xylem rays. These are the primary tracks of the lateral movements of substances from the vertical vascular conducts that are found near to cambium.

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The secondary phloem system is produced by the vascular cambium facing the outer surface. The older secondary phloem is always found superficially and is younger than the other tissues.

The older secondary phloem is successively degraded and invaginated into the bark system. The new secondary phloem is close to vascular cambium that is chiefly composed of parenchyma cells, companion cells, and the sieve tubes.

The cortical system:
The cortical and epidermal changes replace the primary tissue-protective layers with periderm (composed of cork cambium, cork, and phelloderm). The cork and phelloderm are produced in cork cambium, and the structure and functions differ. The cork is suberized, dies at a matured stage, is tightly packed, and found outside the cork cambium. This serves as an insulating material, that is waterproof, and protects the underlying stem tissues.

The phelloderm is aligned in the inner part of the cork cambium and remains alive that performs regular metabolic functions. The lenticels which are the small openings in bark allows the diffusion of gas.

The lenticels are occupied with loose parenchyma cells which are exposed directly to the atmosphere on either of the sides, with thick cortical cells occupying the other side.

The ritidome system:
The tree barks contain more superficial tissues compared to the vascular cambium that includes phloem and the periderm. Hence, the bark produces two types of meristems, which are 1) vascular cambium and 2) cork cambium. The cork cambium is degenerated rapidly due to its transient state and is generated again with each periderm growth.

The periderm growth upon succession lies in the stem called the ritidome. Hence, the bark is formed with phloem, periderm, and ritidome. If the cork cambium exists as such in certain plants/trees, the ritidome structure does not exist.

The periderm that first originates remains for only a few years in warm climate regions. Then, the new inner periderm is produced. If it continues with the perimeter of the stem, the surface is very smooth. In other species, the periderm shows lens appearance that is partially overlapped in the space between each other. Here the cork cambium is developed from the cortical parenchyma.

Some of the trees produce commercially valuable stem barks (such as cork oak – Quercus suber). This species contains a stem without the ritidome structure, hence the cork cambium shortens permanent growth. It produces a uniform material without having any materials. The trees have ritidome that produces alternative parenchyma and phloem layers. Hence the barks are crushed and agglomerated.

In Quercus suber, once the periderm is removed, the stem part produces new cambium with similar features to the previous one. Hence the cork part is obtained throughout the lifetime of the tree.

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