Vegetal histo-cytology technics and plant anatomy

Plant anatomy
Enter the fascinating world of plants and discover the intimacy of their cellular organization. You will learn to recognize the different tissues and to discover the internal organization of the organs (stems, roots, flowers, fruits). You will approach the amazing anatomical biodiversity of the plants and discover the fascinating adaptation of certain structures to the accomplishment of a given function or the survival of the plant in a constrained environment (dryness, excess water, salty environment, high brightness). You will discover the importance of the tissue component in a number of products of plant origin valued by man (natural rubber, wood, cork, textile fibers, natural dyes, flavors, perfumes, aromatic plants, food plants). You will deepen your understanding of the plant and develop your observation skills.
© PHIV-Cirad
© PHIV-Cirad

© PHIV-Cirad


  • Acquisition of bases or knowledge in plant anatomy
  • To discover the interest of comparative anatomy in plants and the diversity of its contributions in botany, systematics, developmental biology, plant physiology, ecology, in the study of plant-environment relationships, of plant origin
  • To choose, to realize and to interpret a coloration according to its problematics
  • Control the adjustment and use of an indispensable tool for anatomy: the optical microscope (transmitted light and epifluorescence)
  • Make a diagnosis from observation of histological sections.


Scientists, Teachers, Technicians, Engineers, Technologists, Industrialists, anyone passionate about the plant kingdom.


English or french


Day 1

- Introduction to plant anatomy (its history and importance today for the plant sciences)

- The good uses of the microscope (description, parameter settings and maintenance). Phase contrast, interference contrast (Nomarski), black background, light background, epifluorescence: principles and uses. How to take a picture, digital photos.

- Preparation of samples and specificities of plant histology: fixation, dehydration, inclusions in paraffin, resin (glycol methacrylate) (advantages and disadvantages respectively). Sample cutting (hand cutting, microtome, vibratome).

Day 2

- Plant Anatomy: Plant tissues (their main characteristics and functions). Tissue recognition, exercises on histological glass slides

- Plant tissue staining, choice and principles, topological or histochemical staining.

- The main fluorochromes, their uses and their specificity (targeting of organelles, primary metabolites, secondary, physiological functions ...). - Realization of colorations, observations, validation and interpretation

Day 3

- Structure of the main plant organs (stems, roots, leaves and flowers). Primary body / Secondary body.

- Recognition of organs and tissues on slides, diagnoses. - Concepts of histo-enzymology: localization of enzymatic activities on sections.

Day 4

- Comparative anatomy, structure / function relationships, structure relationships adaptation to different environments and biotopes.

- Anatomical basis for the development and valorization of products of plant origin (food plants, spice plants and aromas, latex plants, fiber plants, dye plants).


Christine Sanier, Frédéric Gatineau, Jean-luc Verdeil