In plants, the tissue of unspecialized cells lying between the epidermis (surface cells) and the vascular, or conducting, tissues (see phloem and xylem) of stems and roots. Cortical cells may contain stored food or other substances, such as resins, latex, essential oils, and tannins. Cortical cells in herbaceous stems, young woody stems, and stems of succulents contain chloroplasts and can therefore make food by photosynthesis. Food, usually in the form of starch, in edible roots, bulbs, and tubers is stored mostly in the cortex.
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