Eukaryotic Plant Cell Drawing Assignment

Plant Cell Definition

Plant cells are the basic unit of life in organisms of the kingdom Plantae. They are eukaryotic cells, which have a true nucleus along with specialized structures called organelles that carry out different functions. Animals, fungi, and protists also have eukaryotic cells, while bacteria and archaea have simpler prokaryotic cells. Plant cells are differentiated from the cells of other organisms by their cell walls, chloroplasts, and central vacuole.

Functions of Plant Cells

Plant cells are the basic building block of plant life, and they carry out all of the functions necessary for survival. Photosynthesis, the making of food from light energy, carbon dioxide, and water, occurs in the chloroplasts of the cell. The energy molecule adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is produced through cellular respiration in the mitochondria. There are five types of plant cells, each with different functions:

  • Parenchyma cells are the majority of cells in a plant. They are found in leaves and carry out photosynthesis and cellular respiration, along with other metabolic processes. They also store substances like starches and proteins and have a role in plant wound repair.
  • Collenchyma cells provide support to growing parts of a plant. They are elongated, have thick cell walls, and can grow and change shape as a plant grows.
  • Sclerenchyma cells are hard cells that are the main supporting cells in the areas of a plant that have ceased growing. Sclerenchyma cells are dead and have very thick cell walls.
  • Xylem cells transport mostly water and a few nutrients throughout a plant, from the roots to the stem and leaves.
  • Phloem cells transport nutrients made during photosynthesis to all parts of a plant. They transport sap, which is a watery solution high in sugars.

Plant Cell Structure

The plant cell has many different parts. Each part of the cell has a specialized function. These structures are called organelles.

This diagram shows the various parts of a plant cell. Specialized structures in plant cells include chloroplasts, a large vacuole, and the cell wall.


Chloroplasts are found only in plant and algae cells. These organelles carry out the process of photosynthesis, which turns water, carbon dioxide, and light energy into nutrients. They are oval-shaped and have two membranes: an outer membrane, which forms the external surface of the chloroplast, and an inner membrane that lies just beneath. Between the outer and inner membrane is a thin intermembrane space about 10-20 nanometers wide. Within the other membrane, there is another space called the stroma, which is where chloroplasts are contained.
Chloroplasts themselves contain many flattened disks called thylakoids, and these have a high concentration of chlorophyll and carotenoids, which capture light energy. The molecule chlorophyll also gives plants their green color. Thylakoids are stacked on top of one another in vascular plants in stacks called grana.


Plant cells are unique in that they have a large central vacuole. A vacuole is a small sphere of membrane within the cell that can contain fluid, ions, and other molecules. Vacuoles are basically large vesicles. They can be found in the cells of many different organisms, but plant cells characteristically have a large vacuole that can take up anywhere from 30-80 percent of the cell.

The central vacuole of a plant cell helps maintain its turgor pressure, which is the pressure of the contents of the cell pushing against the cell wall. A plant thrives best when its cells have high turgidity, and this occurs when the central vacuole is full of water. If turgor pressure in the plants decreases, the plants begin to wilt. Plant cells fare best in hypotonic solutions, where there is more water in the environment than in the cell; under these conditions, water rushes into the cell by osmosis, and turgidity is high. Animal cells, on the other hand, can lyse if too much water rushes in; they fare better in isotonic solutions, where the concentration of solutes in the cell and in the environment is equal and net movement of water in and out of the cell is the same.

Cell Wall

The cell wall is a tough layer found on the outside of the plant cell that gives it strength and also maintains high turgidity. In plants, the cell wall contains mainly cellulose, along with other molecules like hemicellulose, pectin, and liginins. The composition of the plant cell wall differentiates it from the cell walls of other organisms. For example, fungi cell walls contain chitin, and bacterial cell walls contain peptidoglycan, and these substances are not found in plants. A main difference between plant and animal cells is that plant cells have a cell wall while animal cells do not. Plant cells have a primary cell wall, which is a flexible layer formed on the outside of a growing plant cell, and a secondary cell wall, a tough, thick layer formed inside the primary plant cell wall when the cell is mature.

Other Organelles

Plant cells have many other organelles that are essentially the same as organelles in other types of eukaryotic cells, such as animal cells. The nucleus contains a cell’s deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), its genetic material. DNA contains instructions for making proteins, which controls all of the body’s activities. The nucleus also regulates the growth and division of the cell. Proteins are synthesized in ribosomes, modified in the endoplasmic reticulum, and folded, sorted, and packaged into vesicles in the Golgi apparatus.

Mitochondria are also found in plant cells. They produce ATP through cellular respiration. Photosynthesis in the chloroplasts provides the nutrients that mitochondria break down for use in cellular respiration. Interestingly, both chloroplasts and mitochondria are thought to have formed from bacteria being engulfed by other cells in an endosymbiotic (mutually beneficial) relationship, and they did so independently of each other.

Cytosol is the liquid contained within cells. It is mostly made of water, and also contains ions like potassium, proteins, and small molecules. Cytosol and all the organelles within it, except for the nucleus, are called the cytoplasm. The cytoskeleton is a network of filaments and tubules found throughout the cytoplasm of the cell. It has many functions; it gives the cell shape, provides strength, stabilizes tissues, anchors organelles within the cell, and has a role in cell signaling. The cell membrane, a double phospholipid layer, surrounds the entire cell.

Related Biology Terms

  • Eukaryotic cell – A relatively large cell with a true nucleus and organelles.
  • Prokaryotic cell – A relatively small cell with no true nucleus and no organelles except for ribosomes.
  • Thylakoid – A flattened disk inside the chloroplast that contains chlorophyll and is where photosynthesis takes place.
  • Cell wall – A cellulose-containing layer that surrounds a plant cell.


1. Which of these are found in plant cells, but not in animal cells?
A. Central vacuole
B. Chloroplasts
C. Cell wall
D. All of the above

Answer to Question #1

D is correct. Animal cells can have vacuoles, but they do not have the large central vacuole that plant cells have. While plant cells have a cell wall and a cell membrane, animal cells only have a cell membrane.

2. What molecule is mainly found in plant cell walls, but not in the cell walls of other organisms?
A. Cellulose
B. Chitin
C. Peptidoglycan
D. Phospholipid

Answer to Question #2

A is correct. Cellulose is found in plant cell walls, chitin is in fungi cell walls, and peptidoglycan is in bacteria cell walls. Phospholipids are found in the cell membrane.

3. Plant cells far best in _______ solutions.
A. Hypertonic
B. Isotonic
C. Hypotonic

Answer to Question #3

C is correct. Plant cells do best when they can take in a lot of water and maintain high turgidity. They do so in hypotonic solutions, where there is a higher concentration of water outside the cell. The water rushes into the cell through osmosis. In isotonic solutions, plants wilt, and in hypertonic solutions, plant cells lose a lot of water and may die.

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  • Glen Nunes 3 years agofrom Cape Cod, Massachusetts

    feri, that's a very good question. There are many details to the answer, and I may write another hub to give a more complete answer, but in short: plant and animal cells are both eukaryotes, and the processes of growth, respiration and locomotion are quite similar in all eukaryotic cells. The means by which plant and animal cells acquire nutrients (photosynthesis vs eating) are very different, however.

    A common problem is to confuse respiration with photosynthesis. As you know, the process of photosynthesis in plants takes in CO2 and releases oxygen, the opposite of what animals do when they breathe. But plants, like animals, also have a respiration process, in which oxygen goes in and CO2 comes out.

  • feri 3 years ago

    very nice explanation it's very easy to learn thing by diagram but i have a doubtful question please answer this what is difference between plant andanimal cell? (a)growth (b)respiration (c)locomotion (d)nutrition i can't understand the bcz answer is (d) what is the reason bcz a,b,c, is also differenciate

  • Glen Nunes 3 years agofrom Cape Cod, Massachusetts

    Thanks for the support Jyoti. Glad you found the hub interesting.

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    Interesting information. It will especially help students learning biology. Rated up and interesting.

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    I'm glad to hear that people are finding this information to be helpful.

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    Well written hub.

  • Glen Nunes 5 years agofrom Cape Cod, Massachusetts

    Thanks so much, Daisy. Don't apologize for not seeing this one sooner. You've been very supportive of my writing here at HubPages and I really appreciate it!

  • Daisy Mariposa 5 years agofrom Orange County (Southern California)


    What a well-written, well-researched article! I'm sorry I missed it when you first published it, my friend. Your diagrams make the subject so much easier to understand.

    I'm sharing your article with my followers, posting a link on Google+, and tweeting it.

  • ... 5 years ago

    Thanks it help me do my homework for science in 7 grade

  • sara 5 years ago

    its great what information i needed is mentioned here

  • Glen Nunes 5 years agofrom Cape Cod, Massachusetts

    You should be able to see 2 diagrams. Have you tried refreshing the page in your browser?

  • :] 5 years ago

    i see no diagram!

  • Glen Nunes 5 years agofrom Cape Cod, Massachusetts

    Tyler, yes, plants and animal cells both have DNA. Most of it is contained in the nucleus, with a small amount in the mitochondria.

  • Tyler 5 years ago

    ^do they both have dna

  • frseza 5 years ago

    it really helps thx

  • Glen Nunes 5 years agofrom Cape Cod, Massachusetts

    Hi krizha,

    Thanks for taking the time to comment. I'm not sure I understand your question. Do you mean: what do plant and animal cells have in common? The diagrams have an asterisk (*) beside the structures that are unique to either plant or animal cells. All of the other structures are present in both. Hope that helps.

  • krizha inocencio 5 years ago

    what are the combination between plants and animal cells?

  • Glen Nunes 5 years agofrom Cape Cod, Massachusetts

    Teresa - biology students, about grade 8 or 9, was actually the group I had in mind when I created this hub. I figured that would be the group most likely looking for information at this level.

    PWalker281 - I'm glad the diagrams are working. It was a trade-off between how much information to include vs being able to actually read the diagrams at the size they're shown at in the hub.

    Thanks to both of you for the comments and feedback.

  • PWalker281 5 years ago

    Your diagrams make this biology lesson come alive! Voted up and across!

  • Teresa Coppens 5 years agofrom Ontario, Canada

    Glen, Wonderful diagrams. So clear and informative. What an excellent source for any grade 8 or 9 biology teacher. Voted way up!!!!

  • Glen Nunes 5 years agofrom Cape Cod, Massachusetts

    Thanks billybuc. The topic has always been an interest of mine, but it's nice to get thumbs up from someone that's actually taught the subject.

  • Bill Holland 5 years agofrom Olympia, WA

    HaHa...I taught this in middle school...I thought I was back in the classroom preparing my lesson. Well done my friend!

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