When, in place of a number of such cells called tracheids, we have a continuous tube with the same kind of wall thickening, but composed of a number of cells whose cross walls have disappeared, the resulting structure is called a vessel.
The tracheids or vessels, indifferently called tracheal elements, together with the immediately associated cells (usually amylom in Pteridophytes) constitute the xylem of the plant.
The sieve-tubes differ, however, from the tracheids in being immediately associated, apparently constantly, not with starchy parenchyma, but with parenchymatous cells, containing particularly abundant proteid contents, which seem to have a function intimately connected with the conducting function of the sieve-tubes, and which we may call proteid-cells.
Such a vascular cylinder is called a haplostele, and the axis containing it is said to be haplostelic. In the stele of the root the strands of tracheids along the lines where the xylem touches the pericycle are spiral or annular, and are the xylem elements first formed when the cylinder is developing.
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.