Stomatal clustering is correlated with environmental signals


Stomatal clustering, a new marker for environmental perception and adaptation in terrestrial plants

by Gan Y., Zhou L., Shen Z.-J., Shen Z.-X., Zhang Y.-Q., Wang G.-X. (2010)

Yi Gan; Lei Zhou; Zhong-Ji Shen; Zhu-Xia Shen; Yi-Qiong Zhang; Gen-Xuan Wang

in Botanical Studies (2010) 51: 325-336. –

Screen Shot 2018-03-11 at 20.33.50
Figure 1. Stomatal clustering in various plant species: (A) Nail polisher imprint show laterally contiguous stomata in Cinnamomum camphora (Lauraceae); (B) Non-contiguous stomatal clusters in Rieger begonia (Begoniaceae); (C) Non-contiguous stomatal clusters in Sedum dfredii Hance (Crassulaceae); (D) Polarly contiguous stomata occasionally seen in Melilotus suaveolens Ledeb (Leguminosae); (E) Contiguous stomatal clustering in the leaf epidermis of Vicia faba Linn. (Leguminosae) under water stress; (F) Laterally contiguous stomata occasionally seen in Arabidopsis thaliana L. (Brassicaceae) Col-0 ecotype; (G) Large contiguous stomatal clusters in the leaf epidermis of Arabidopsis mutant line too many mouths. Stomatal clusters were marked with white cases. Bars in the pictures represent for 25 μm.



“Stomatal clustering,” an abnormal stomatal patterning that is formed by two or more stomata in the leaf epidermis, has been reported in more than 60 species of terrestrial plants.

According to the characters and distributional pattern, two different types of stomatal clusters were identified, However, calculation of R-values in 16 different plant species showed that the classical method in spatial ecology study could not distinguish between these two types of clusters.

Therefore, to classify them, the term “contiguous cluster” and “non-contiguous cluster” were introduced. Their formation and ecological significance were also discussed.

In order to study whether stomatal clustering occurs in response to the environment, Vicia faba L. were cultivated under different water/salinity levels. Epidermis bioassay was conducted 2 weeks after the treatment.

The results showed that drought and salt stresses significantly increased the stomatal density and stomatal index. More importantly, the occurrences of contiguous stomatal clustering also raised along the drought/salt gradients.

The result suggests that the stomatal clustering is correlated with environmental signals. It could serve as a new marker for environmental adaptation in terrestrial plants.


Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.

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