Each strand of spiral or annular first-formed tracheids is called a protoxylem strand, as distinct from the metaxylem or rest of the xylem, which consists of thick-walled tracheids, the pits of which are often scalariform.
The thin-walled spiral or annular tracheae of the protoxylem allow of longitudinal stretching brought about by the active growth in length of the neighboring living parenchymatous cells of a growing organ.
Or many protoxylems. When the protoxylem strands are situated at the periphery of the stele, abutting on the pericycle, as in all roots, and many of the more primitive Pteridophyte stems, the stele is said to be exarch.
When there is a single protoxylem strand in the centre of the stele, or when, as is more commonly the case, there are several protoxylem strands situated at the internal limit of the xylem,, the centre of the stem being occupied by parenchyma, the stele is endarch.