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A cross-section of a stem. The holes with dark red outlines are xylem vessels
SEM image (top) and light microscope image (bottom) of vessel elements in Oak

A vessel element (trachea) is one of the cell types found in xylem, the water conducting tissue of plants.

Vessel elements are found in flowering plants (angiosperms) but not in most gymnosperms such as conifers. Vessel elements are the main feature distinguishing the "hardwood" of angiosperms from the "softwood" of conifers. view more...