Cells are the building blocks of life. Plant cells can be one-celled organisms such as algae. Plant cells can also be specialized with each cell having a specific task with the cells working together to ensure the survival of the plant.
Plant Cell vs. Animal Cell
A plant cell is similar to an animal cell. The difference is that plant cells have a cell wall as well as chloroplasts which contain chlorophyll, the green substance that takes in the sun’s energy and helps make and store the plant’s food.
This process of creating and storing food is called photosynthesis. Plant cells take the heat of the sun gathered by the chloroplasts, water and carbon dioxide and turn it into sugars and starches.
Cells in land-based plants have structures called stomata which are tiny openings that allow carbon dioxide in and oxygen, a bi-product of photosynthesis, to be released. Aquatic and one-celled plants lack this feature. The exchange of gases is done through the cell walls.
Most of a plant’s water is taken in by the root system which has specialized cells of its own. Each cell has a hairlike extension that gives a larger surface area to absorb water.
Water is then transported throughout the plant by the xylem cells which have a woody covering. When these cells die they leave a thin woody tube, helping to support the plant.
The nucleus, surrounded by its own membrane, contains many of the cell’s organelles which include the nucleolus. It also contains the plant’s chromosomes, or DNA, which contains the plant's genetic code that is needed for reproduction.