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The growth plate is the zone of cartilage ("gristle") on the either end of a growing bone that functions to lay down the mature bony tissue on either side of it allowing the bone to lengthen, that is to grow. It lies between the epiphysis, or bony cap of the bone, and the metaphysis, which is the flared portion between the epiphysis and the shaft of the bone. Fractures through the growth plate are referred to as Salter type fractures and can have serious consequences.