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vascular tissue (vascular system) The tissue that conducts water and nutrients through the plant body in higher plants (tracheophytes). It consists of xylem and phloem. Since the xylem and phloem tissues are always in close proximity to each other, distinct regions of vascular tissue can be identified (see vascular bundle). The possession of vascular tissue has enabled the higher plants to attain a considerable size and dominate most terrestrial habitats.