A stem is one of two main structural axes of a vascular plant, the other being the root. The stem is normally divided into nodes and internodes: The nodes hold one or more leaves, as well as buds which can grow into branches (with leaves, conifer cones, or inflorescences (flowers)). Adventitious roots may also be produced from the nodes. The internodes distance one node from another. The term "shoots" is often confused with "stems"; "shoots" generally refers to new fresh plant growth including both stems and other structures like leaves or flowers. In most plants stems are located above the soil surface but some plants have underground stems. Stems have four main functions which are: Support for and the elevation of leaves, flowers and fruits. The stems keep the leaves in the light and provide a place for the plant to keep its flowers and fruits. Transport of fluids between the roots and the shoots in the xylem and phloem Storage of nutrients Production of new living tissue. The normal lifespan of plant cells is one to three years.
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