This botany lesson is designed for 6 to 12-year-old children. It demonstrates the basic structure of a stem, its parts, and its functions.

This video lesson provides a practical life experience of learning about the stems of different plants by taking a nature walk along with the child. It also introduces the child to the various parts of the stem, such as the nodes, petiole, axillary bud, etc.

Parts of a Stem, its Structures and Functions

The term ’stem’ refers to the plant structure supporting the plant and connecting the roots to the leaves and flowers. It is also called the central axis of the plant because it is found above the ground. 

Stems are of two types: 

(i) unbranched like the palm tree 

(ii) branched like rose plants. 

Note: stems of some plants grow underground, such as the potato. It can be herbaceous (soft) or woody in nature (trunk). 

Functions of a stem

  • The primary function of the stem is to provide mechanical support to the plant.  
  • It also stores food for the plant. 
  • It helps to transport absorbed water and minerals from roots to different parts of the plant. 
  • It helps transport the food prepared by leaves using photosynthesis (i.e., sugars) to the rest of the plant.


What Are the Five Different Parts of a Stem?

A stem consists of five distinct parts: 

  1. Nodes,
  2. Internodes,
  3. Terminal or apical bud,
  4. Lateral or axillary bud,
  5. Petiole


  1. Nodes

They are the point of attachment where the buds, leaves, aerial roots, and branches originate. A stem can support several leaves and buds.

Functions of Nodes

  • It helps the plant to form buds, leaves, and branches.
  • It provides structural support to the plant.
  1. Internodes

Internode is the region between two nodes. It is also known as the ‘internodal’ zone. 

Functions of Internodes

  • It acts like branches or blood vessels that carry and distributes food, water, and minerals to each part of the plant


  1. Terminal or Apical Bud

Apical bud is the small extension found at the tip of the plant (Apex of the plant). 

Functions of Apical bud

  • It acts as the primary growing point in the stem.
  • It produces growth hormones that help the plant to grow vertically upwards.


  1. Lateral Bud or Axillary Bud

The tiny bud develops from the axil (the region between the stem and a leaf). It gives rise to new branches of stem or flower. 

Functions of Axillary bud

  • It helps a plant to develop its lateral branches and leaves.
  • It helps a plant to grow flowers (the reproductive part of a plant)
  1. Petiole

Leaf petioles are thin stalks that connect the stem to the base of a leaf.   

Functions of Petiole

  • It provides strength and support to the leaf
  • It helps in transporting water and minerals to the leaf and food from the leaf to the rest of the plant


Some other facts about stem 

The majority of stems grow above ground, but some of them grow underground such as potatoes.

  • A stem can be unbranched or highly branched; it may also be herbaceous or woody.
  • Stems may range in length from a few millimeters to hundreds of meters. 
  • Stems also vary in diameter, depending on the plant type. 


Invite the child for a nature walk. Allow them to pick their favorite plant and ask them to identify the different parts of its stem.

Watch the video to learn about the parts of the stem and how they differ in appearance and help the plant to grow.


For more science lessons, visit:

Video Created by: Justine McNeilly


  • botany
  • Elementary
  • English
  • science