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CODE 70044
SEMESTER 2° Semester
MODULES Questo insegnamento è un modulo di:



The course provides the acquisition of fundamental notions about the cell, the anatomical plant tissues and structure in the various groups. It also deals with developmental mechanisms and with the different modes of propagation and reproduction of plant organisms, especially in Angiosperms.


The module has the following learning goals:

-main notions about plant cell, plant tissues and organs in higher plants;

- information about mechanism of plant growth and development;

- knowledge about different propagation modes and the reproduction of higher plants.

Specifically, the student will be able to:

-explain and describe plant structure and function, with particular reference to terrestrial plants; understand the use of the plants in daily human activities;

-apply methods of histological and anatomical investigations of plant tissues and organs;

-describe the structure and functions of reproductive organs of Spermatophytes and the different mechanisms of propagation and sexual reproduction.


Frontal  lectures  (5 CFU, 40 h)

Experiments in Laboratory or/and field experiences (1 CFU, 16 h)

Please refer to the AulaWeb platform for any specific updates to the teaching due to changes in the health and epidemiological situation.


The course will deal with the following main argument:

Plant Biology, Morphology and Reproduction

- Importance of plants for humans and other living beings. Affinities and differences between higher plants and higher animals.

- The eukaryotic plant cell. Cell size, shape and organization. Notes on the different chemical compounds and on some cytoplasmic organelles.

- Cell wall: cytodieresis and origin of the wall. Growth, functions and composition of the wall. Middle lamella, primary wall and secondary wall. Disperse weaving and parallel weaving. Apoplasto and simplasto (outline). Wall modifications (cutinization, lignification, suberification, mineralization, gelation, wax and gum deposition) and their functional significance.

- Plastids: proplastids, chloroplasts and primary starch, etioplasts, leucoplasts and secondary starch (amylose and amylopectin), chromoplasts.

- Vacuole: origin, development, functions. The vacuole as a site of accumulation of toxic compounds and secondary metabolites; importance of vacuolar inclusions in plant-animal relationships.

- Plant organization: unicellulars, pluri-cellulars with pseudotissues, pluri-cellulars with tissues. Thallus and corm: conquest of the terrestrial environment and adaptations.

- Cell growth by division and distension. The differentiation of the plant cell. Notes on the characteristics of Arabidopsis thaliana as an experimental model for plant biology.

- Upper plant tissues: features, functions and location. Primary and secondary meristems; continued embryogeny and totipotency. Parenchymal tissues: chlorophyll, reserve, aeriferous, aquifer and conductor. Tegumental tissues: epidermis (stomatal systems and trichomes); rizoderma; endoderm; exoderm, periderm (formation of lenticels). External and internal segregation fabrics. Mechanical tissues: collenchima, sclerenchima. Conductive fabrics: xylem and phloem. Cribro-vascular bundles. The stele and its evolution.

- The vegetative organs of the corm. The root and its functions; primary and secondary structures; ramifications. The stem and its functions; stem anatomy in Gymnosperms and Dicotyledons (primary and secondary structures; annual circles; sapwood and duramen; homoxyl and eteroxyl wood); stem anatomy in Monocotyledons. Notes on the root-stem passage. The leaf and its functions; anatomy of some leaves of Gymnosperms; anatomy in Angiosperms: dorsoventral and isolateral leaf. Morpho-functional adaptations of leaves, with examples.

- General information on the reproduction of eukaryotic plants. Vegetative reproduction. Reproduction by sporogony and outline of the transition from isosporia to heterosporia. Sexual reproduction in metagenetic cycles. The flower of the Angiosperms: morphology, functions; evolution of the floral parts. Micro- and macro- sporogenesis and gametogenesis, pollination, pregamy and double fertilization. The seed and its reserves. The first stages of germination and the young plant.

Laboratory and practical experiences

- Observation techniques and analysis of plant material. Cutting and coloring techniques.

- Observations of some elements of plant cytology: wall, vacuoles, amyloplasts, chloroplasts.

- Morphological and anatomical observations of the apparatus constituting the corm. The root and its types; primary and secondary structures. The stem and its types; stem anatomy in Gymnosperms, Dicotyledons (primary and secondary structure) and Monocotyledons. The leaf and its types; anatomy of leaves of Gymnosperms and Angiosperms (dorsoventral and isolateral leaf).

- Visit to the Hanbury Botanical Gardens for direct observation of all the topics covered in the course.

- Field trip for live observations.


Presentation slides

Available on AulaWEB until the end of May, at the site

When the lectures are performed on-line a video will be recorded

Main texts:

  • Speranza A. e Calzoni G. L. Struttura delle piante per immagini. Ed. Zanichelli, Bologna, 2002.
  • Pasqua G., Abbate G., Forni C. Botanica generale e diversità vegetale. Ed. Piccin, Padova, 2019.

Reference texts:

  • Solomon, et al. Struttura e processi vitali nelle piante. EdiSES, 2017.
  • Tripodi G. Introduzione alla Botanica sistematica EdiSES, 2006.

Anatomy tables of vascular plants:


Other lessons in-depth analysis of various course topics, terminology, etc:



Exam Board




LUIGI MINUTO (President Substitute)



For lessons start and timetable go to the link:

Please check the module Aulaweb page for timetable updates dependent on the sanitary and epidemic situation.




Due to changes in the health and epidemiological situation, please refer to the AulaWeb platform for any specific updates to the module.

During June and July calls, the examination includes a written test in the form of a pre-selection test (online or in a computer room), which is useful for access to the oral examination. The test will cover topics from both modules: general botany, systematic botany, and related laboratory exercises.

The oral examination involves the recognition of an anatomical image and the discussion of a small herbarium, but covering all the topics of the program. The pre-selection test evaluations are valid for the summer session only (June, July and September) of the current academic year.

From September onwards, students who do not take or fail the pre-selection test by July must take an oral examination on the complete syllabus.


The written/oral exams will aim to assess not only if the student has reached an adequate level of knowledge, but also if he has acquired the ability to link structure and functions in plants.


Exam schedule

Data Ora Luogo Degree type Note
24/01/2023 09:00 GENOVA Orale
07/02/2023 09:00 GENOVA Orale
12/06/2023 09:00 GENOVA Orale
26/06/2023 09:00 GENOVA Orale
10/07/2023 09:00 GENOVA Orale
24/07/2023 09:00 GENOVA Orale
19/09/2023 09:00 GENOVA Orale


Frequency is strongly recommended. Attendance at the theoretical course (Plant Biol. and Systematic Bot.) will be sometimes monitored in order to check the interest to the course. To take the final written test of the Laboratory it is essential to attend classes at least 75%