In this article we will discuss about the meaning and types of branching.
Meaning of Branching:
Branches are the similar members of the stems. The axillary buds develop into branches by the elongation of the internodes accompanied by enlargement and expansion of the leaves. The mode of arrangement of the branches is called branching.
Types of Branching:
There are two main types of branching:
(i) Lateral and
I. Lateral Branching:
In lateral branching the axillary buds, lying laterally or sideways, go on producing branches in acropetal order. Lateral branching, again, may be racemose or indefinite and cymose or definite.
In the racemose type of branching the terminal bud continues to grow vigorously, producing a prominent primary axis, and the axillary buds develop into lateral branches which are, by all means, smaller than the main axis. Due to this type of branching the trees attain cone-shaped or pyramidal appearance (Fig. 51). It is also called monopodial (mono= one; pod=axis). Examples—Polyalthia (B. Debdaru), Casuarina (B. Jhau).
In the cymose type of branching the growth of the primary axis is checked or arrested and a few branches or secondary axes grow vigorously for some time. They also meet the same fate and new branches exceed them in vigour; so the process goes on. As a result the whole tree takes up a dome- shaped appearance. All the common spreading trees have this type of branching (Fig. 51). Examples—mango, banyan.
II. Dichotomous Branching:
It is common only in lower plants (cryptogams) where the growing point bifurcates or divides into two equally vigorous parts. The branches behave in the same manner (Fig. 50). Example—Lycopodium.