[kam-bee-uh m]
noun, plural cam·bi·ums, cam·bi·a [kam-bee-uh] /ˈkæm bi ə/. Botany.
  1. a layer of delicate meristematic tissue between the inner bark or phloem and the wood or xylem, which produces new phloem on the outside and new xylem on the inside in stems, roots, etc., originating all secondary growth in plants and forming the annual rings of wood.

Origin of cambium

1665–75; < Late Latin: an exchange, barter; akin to Latin cambiāre to exchange
Related formscam·bi·al, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for cambium

Contemporary Examples of cambium

  • When summer comes, adult beetles attack and larva feed in the cambium layer, girdling the trees and sealing their doom.

    The Daily Beast logo
    What It Takes to Kill a Grizzly Bear

    Doug Peacock

    November 23, 2014

Historical Examples of cambium

British Dictionary definitions for cambium


noun plural -biums or -bia (-bɪə)
  1. botany a meristem that increases the girth of stems and roots by producing additional xylem and phloemSee also cork cambium
Derived Formscambial, adjective

Word Origin for cambium

C17: from Medieval Latin: exchange, from Late Latin cambiāre to exchange, barter
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for cambium

1670s in botany sense, from Late Latin cambium "exchange," from Latin cambiare "change" (see change (v.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

cambium in Science


Plural cambiums cambia
  1. A cylindrical layer of tissue in the stems and roots of many seed-bearing plants, consisting of cells that divide rapidly to form new layers of tissue. Cambium is a kind of meristem and is most active in woody plants, where it lies between the bark and wood of the stem. It is usually missing from monocotyledons, such as the grasses.♦ The vascular cambium forms tissues that carry water and nutrients throughout the plant. On its outer surface, the vascular cambium forms new layers of phloem, and on its inner surface, new layers of xylem. The growth of these new tissues causes the diameter of the stem to increase.♦ The cork cambium creates cells that eventually become bark on the outside and cells that add to the cortex on the inside. In woody plants, the cork cambium is part of the periderm. See also secondary growth.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

cambium in Culture



The layer of a tree where growth occurs, just under the bark.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.