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Biology > Plant Cells

In this section there are two diagrams, one is simple in its construction and may be appropriate for secondary schools (GCSE/KS3-4) whereas the more detailed diagram contains more organelles and may be more suitable for AS/A level and other vocational sciences. Remember you are free to copy any of these diagrams for use in your school and/or Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) Scroll down to the bottom of this page for the diagrams.

Like animal cells, plant cells are full of organelles, each of which perform a specific function within the cell. The main organelles are listed below with their functions.

Plants have a rigid cell wall surrounding the plasma membrane which strengthens the cell and is made of tough cellulose.

Photosynthesis takes place within the chloroplasts of the cell, they contain the chlorophyll to trap light and make the process work.

The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is a network of sacs which makes and sends chemical compounds around the cell.

Microfilaments are sturdy protein rods that are mainly structural in function.

The Golgi Apparatus modifies proteins and fats made by the ER and prepares them for other uses.

Microtubles are hollow cylinders found within the cytoplasm and have a range of uses including transportation and structural properties.

Mitochondria break down sugar and carbohydrate molecules to provide energy for the plant, especially when there is no light available to produce energy.

The Nucleus contains the DNA and co-ordinates cell growth, reproduction, protein synthesis and metabolism.

All plants have a fixed Vacuole which is filled with a liquid called cell sap. It performs a structural role and also helps with plant growth.

Plasmodesmata are tubes which connect plant cells to each other.

Ribosomes are organelles containing RNA and protein.

Peroxisomes contain a variety of enzymes, which function together to rid the cell of toxic substances.

The table below shows the main differences between plant and animal cells.

Plant Cells Animal Cells
Tough cellulose cell walls No cell wall
Nucleus to one side of cell Central nucleus
Large permanent vacuole Some have small vacuoles
Many chloroplasts No chloroplasts

Fig 1: Simple plant cell
Fig 1:
Simple plant cell

Fig 2: Plant cell with organelles
Fig 2:
Plant cell with organelles