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sieve-tube element

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An elongated, food-conducting cell in phloem in angiosperms. Unlike the tracheary elements of xylem, sieve elements have living protoplasts when mature, but they lack a nucleus and are dependent upon companion cells for certain functions. At the ends of each sieve-tube element are sieve plates, areas of the cell wall containing numerous large pores. The sieve-tube elements are aligned end to end and form continuous tubes, along which nutrients flow relatively unimpeded from cell to cell through the sieve plates. Sieve-tube elements are more specialized than the sieve cells found in gymnosperms. Compare sieve cell.

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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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