Part 1 Roles of stem architecture in plant performance: plant stems - biomechanical adaption for energy capture and influence on species distributions, T.J. Givnish; opportunities and constraints in the placement of flowers and fruits, D.M. Waller and D.A. Steingraeber; the biomechanical optimum in woody stems, C. Mattheck; shrub stems - form and function, B.F. Wilson. Part 2 Roles of stems in transport and storage of water: limitations on stem water transport and their consequences, J.S. Sperry; patterns of xylem variation within a tree and their hydraulic and mechanical consequences, B.L. Gartner; stem water storage, N.M. Holbrook. Part 3 Roles of live stem cells in plant performance: role of stems in transport, storage and circulation of ions and metabolites by the whole plant, J.S. Pate and W.D. Jeschke; the low profile directors of C- and N-economy in plants - the parenchyma cells associated with translocation channels, A.J.E. van Bel; stem photosynthesis - extent, patterns and role in plant carbon economy, E.T. Nilsen; microflora and microfauna on stems and trunks - diversity, foodwebs and effects on plants, E.R. Ingham and A.R. Moldenke; developmental potential of shoot buds, J.P. Stafstrom; respiratory gas exchange and cambial function in tree stems, T.W. Kimmerer and J. Stringer; hormonal control of radial and longitudinal growth in the tree stem, C.H.A. Little and R.P. Pharis. Part 4 Roles of stems in preventing or reacting to responses to plant injury: stems and fires, A.M. Gill; response of stem growth and function to air pollution, J.A. Weber and N.E. Grulke; chemical antiherbivore defense, J.S. Bryant and K.F. Raffa; stem defense against pathogens, L. Shain; synthesis, T.M. Hinckley and P.S. Schulte.