Giant cuticular pores in Eidothea zoexylocarya (Proteaceae) leaves

Hire Wire Press, Stanford University
Publication Type:
Journal Article
American Journal of Botany, 2007, 94 (8), pp. 1282 - 1288
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Ubiquitous, large diameter pores have not previously been adequately demonstrated to occur in leaf cuticles. Here we show conclusively that such structures occur in Eidothea zoexylocarya, a rainforest tree species of Proteaceae restricted to the Australian Wet Tropics. The pores are abundant, large-diameter apertures (~1 µm), that extend perpendicularly most of the way through the cuticle from the inside. They occur on both sides of the leaf, but are absent from the cuticle associated with stomatal complexes on the abaxial side. No such pores were found in any other species, including the only other species of Eidothea, E. hardeniana from New South Wales, and other species that have previously been purported to possess cuticular pores. To determine whether these pores made the cuticles more leaky to water vapor, we measured astomatous cuticular conductances to water vapor for E. zoexylocarya and seven other Proteaceae species of the Wet Tropics. Cuticular conductance for E. zoexylocarya was relatively low, indicating that the prominent pores do not increase conductance. The function of the pores is currently obscure, but the presence of both pores and an adaxial hypodermis in E. zoexylocarya but not E. hardeniana suggests evolution in response to greater environmental stresses in the tropics.
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