Cell walls are at the basis of a structural, four-dimensional framework of plant form and growth time. Recent rapid progress of cell wall research has led to the situation where the old, long-lasting juxtaposition: "living" protoplast - "dead" cell wall, had to be dropped. Various attempts of re-interpretation cast, however, some doubts over the very nature of plant cell and the status of the walls within such a cell. Following a comparison of exocellular matrices of plants and animals, their position in relation to cells and organisms is analysed. A multitude of perspectives of the biological organisation of living beings is presented with particular attention paid to the cellular and organismal theories. Basic tenets and resulting corollaries of both theories are compared, and evolutionary and developmental implications are considered. Based on these data, "The Plant Body" - an organismal concept of plants and plant cells is described.
Cell walls are at the ba sis of a struc tural, four-dimensional frame work of plant form and growth time. Re cent rapid prog ress of cell wall re search has led to the sit u a tion where the old, long-lastingjux ta po si tion: "liv ing" protoplast — "dead" cell wall, had to be dropped. Various at tempts of re-interpretation cast, how ever, some doubts over the very na ture of plant cell and the sta tus of the walls within such a cell. Fol low ing a com par i son of exocellular ma tri ces of plants and an i mals, their po si tion in re la tion to cells and or gan isms is ana lysed. A mul ti tude of per spec tives of the bi o log i cal or gani sa tion of liv ing be ings is pre sented with par tic u lar at ten tion paid to the cel lu lar and organismal the o ries. Ba sic ten ets and re sult ing cor ol lar ies of both the o ries are compared, and evolutionary and developmental implications are considered. Based on these data, "The Plant Body" - an organismal con cept of plants and plant cells is described.