The ground tissue of plants can be divided into three classes based on the nature of the cell walls. Parenchyma cells have thin primary walls and usually remain alive after they become mature. Parenchyma forms the "filler" tissue in the soft parts of plants. Collenchyma cells have thin primary walls with some areas of secondary thickening. Collenchyma provides extra structural support, particularly in regions of new growth. Sclerenchyma cells have thick lignified secondary walls and often die when mature. Sclerenchyma provides the main structural support to a plant.
Parenchyma (//, para meaning "beside", chyma meaning "in filling") is a versatile ground tissue that generally constitutes the "filler" tissue in soft parts of plants. It forms, among other things, the cortex and pith of stems, the cortex of roots, the mesophyll of leaves, the pulp of fruits, and the endosperm of seeds. Parenchyma cells are living cells and may remain meristematic at maturity—meaning that they are capable of cell division if stimulated. They have thin but flexible cellulose cell walls, and are generally polyhedral when close-packed, but can be roughly spherical when isolated from their neighbours. They have large central vacuoles, which allow the cells to store and regulate ions, waste products, and water. Tissue specialised for food storage is commonly formed of parenchyma cells.