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What is the cell organelles in green plants?

Green plants contain a variety of specialized cell organelles that allow them to carry out photosynthesis and other essential plant functions. In this article, we will explore the key organelles found in plant cells and discuss their structure and function.

Plant cells contain many of the same organelles as animal cells, such as the nucleus, mitochondria, endoplasmic reticulum, Golgi apparatus, lysosomes, and peroxisomes. However, plant cells also contain distinct organelles not found in animal cells, including chloroplasts, vacuoles, and cell walls.

The main distinguishing feature of plant cells is their ability to produce their own food through photosynthesis. Photosynthesis takes place in specialized organelles called chloroplasts, which contain the green pigment chlorophyll. In addition to chloroplasts, large central vacuoles store water, maintain turgor pressure, and help break down waste products. Cell walls provide structural support to plant cells and are composed of cellulose.

Understanding the diverse organelles in plant cells and their functions provides insight into the complex cellular processes that allow plants to grow, develop, and adapt to their environments.


The nucleus is the control center of the cell, directing cellular activities and containing the genetic material. The nucleus is surrounded by a nuclear envelope, which regulates transport in and out of the nucleus. The DNA is organized into thread-like structures called chromosomes. The nucleus also contains nucleoli, which produce ribosomes.

Cell Wall

Plant cells have a rigid cell wall surrounding the plasma membrane. Cell walls provide structural support, protect the cell, and regulate entry and exit of molecules. Cell walls are composed of cellulose, hemicellulose, pectin, and in some cases, lignin. Cell walls also contain proteins for structure and signaling. Plasmodesmata are pores that connect the cell walls of adjacent cells, allowing transport and communication between cells.

Plasma Membrane

The plasma membrane forms the boundary between the interior of the cell and the outside environment. It controls the movement of substances in and out of the cell through diffusion, osmosis, endocytosis, and exocytosis. The plasma membrane is composed of a phospholipid bilayer with embedded proteins.


The cytoplasm consists of a jelly-like cytosol and various organelles suspended within it. The cytosol is an aqueous solution containing salts, organic molecules, and enzymes that promote biochemical reactions. The cytoplasm provides a scaffolding that holds organelles in position and allows movement of molecules and organelles within the cell.


The cytoskeleton helps the cell maintain its shape and enables cellular motion. It is composed of microtubules, microfilaments, and intermediate filaments. Microtubules form tracks along which organelles can move. Microfilaments form fine networks under the plasma membrane and facilitate changes in cell shape. Intermediate filaments provide mechanical strength.

Endoplasmic Reticulum

The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) forms an interconnected network of flattened sacs and tubules. There are two types of ER – smooth ER and rough ER. Smooth ER synthesizes lipids, metabolizes carbohydrates, and regulates calcium concentrations. Rough ER has ribosomes attached to it and synthesizes proteins.

Golgi Apparatus

The Golgi apparatus is composed of stacked flattened sacs. It processes and packages proteins and lipids synthesized in the ER for secretion outside the cell or to other locations in the cell. The Golgi apparatus modifies, sorts, and transports molecules to their destination.


Lysosomes are membrane-bound sacs containing hydrolytic enzymes that digest excess or worn-out cell parts, food particles, and engulfed viruses or bacteria. Lysosomes recycle these materials and make their components available for reuse by the cell.


Peroxisomes are small, round organelles enclosed by a single membrane. They contain oxidative enzymes such as catalases and oxidases involved in metabolic reactions. In plant cells, peroxisomes carry out photorespiration and fatty acid oxidation.


Mitochondria are known as the “powerhouses” of the cell because they generate energy through cellular respiration. They have a smooth outer membrane and a highly folded inner membrane forming cristae. The electron transport chain and ATP synthase for ATP production are located on the inner mitochondrial membrane.


Plastids are a family of organelles found only in plant and algae cells. They often contain pigments and are involved in synthesis and storage of compounds. Types of plastids include chloroplasts, chromoplasts, and amyloplasts.


Chloroplasts are plastids that contain the green pigment chlorophyll and are the site of photosynthesis. Chloroplasts have an outer and inner membrane. Stacked disc-shaped sacs called thylakoids contain the chlorophyll and are the sites of light-dependent reactions. The fluid-filled space outside the thylakoids is called stroma and is where the Calvin cycle reactions occur.


Chromoplasts are plastids that contain pigments other than chlorophyll, such as carotenoids. They are responsible for the bright colors of some flower petals and fruits. Chromoplasts synthesize and store these pigments.


Amyloplasts are plastids that store starch. They are found in roots and tubers. Amyloplasts synthesize starch granules, which can be broken down for energy storage and use.


Vacuoles are fluid-filled sacs enclosed by a membrane called the tonoplast. Plant cells often contain one large central vacuole taking up most of the cell volume. Vacuoles maintain turgor pressure against the cell wall, store proteins and nutrients, and break down waste products.

Comparison of Plant and Animal Cells

While plant and animal cells share common organelles, plant cells also have distinctive organelles that allow them to perform photosynthesis and other plant-specific functions. This table summarizes the major organelles found in plant and animal cells:

Organelle Plant Cell Animal Cell
Nucleus Present Present
Mitochondria Present Present
Endoplasmic Reticulum Present Present
Golgi Apparatus Present Present
Lysosomes Present Present
Peroxisomes Present Present
Cell Wall Present Absent
Chloroplasts Present Absent
Large Central Vacuole Present Absent
Plastids Present Absent

Functions of Plant Cell Organelles

Each organelle in a plant cell has a specific structure and function to allow the plant to survive and thrive. Here is a summary of the key functions of plant cell organelles:

  • Nucleus – Controls cellular activities, stores genetic information
  • Cell wall – Provides structural support, protection, regulates entry/exit of molecules
  • Plasma membrane – Defines cell boundaries, controls movement of substances in/out
  • Cytoplasm – Suspends organelles, site of biochemical reactions
  • Cytoskeleton – Maintains cell shape, provides strength, enables motion
  • Endoplasmic reticulum – Site of lipid/protein synthesis and transport
  • Golgi apparatus – Modifies, sorts, packages proteins/lipids for secretion
  • Lysosomes – Digest and recycle cell parts/waste products
  • Peroxisomes – Oxidize fatty acids and amino acids, photorespiration
  • Mitochondria – Generate cellular energy (ATP)
  • Chloroplasts – Photosynthetic organelle, site of light-dependent reactions
  • Vacuoles – Store water and nutrients, maintain turgor pressure


In summary, plant cells contain a variety of specialized organelles that enable them to carry out photosynthesis and exchange gases, transport water, synthesize important compounds, and store nutrients. The key organelles found only in plant cells include chloroplasts, large central vacuoles, cell walls, and plastids like amyloplasts and chromoplasts. Understanding the diverse organelles in plant cells provides insight into the complex processes that allow plants to grow, develop, and adapt to their environments.

Plant cells are highly specialized to perform the functions necessary for plant growth and development. By exploring the unique structures and functions of plant cell organelles, we gain appreciation for the intricate organization and physiology of plant life.