Classification of stomata and stomatal development


Terminology and classification of stomata and stomatal development – a critical survey

by Rasmussen H. (1981)

Hanne Rasmussen, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark

in Bot J Linn Soc, 83:199-212. – DOI: 10.1111/j.1095-8339.1981.tb00345.x –


The literature on terminology of stomata and stomatal development is reviewed and the terminology rationalized. The classification of developmental types and of the developing cells should not be combined with the morphological classification of mature stomatal complexes.

The cells involved in the development should be distinguished on the basis of their origin and position in the developing stomatal complex, and not on the basis of their future form and appearance. It is unsound to distinguish any kind of cell only on the basis of a presumed future division by which it is replaced by its two daughter cells.

Development of stomata begins with the formation of a stomatal meristemoid by an unequal division of a protodermal cell. A meristemoid may divide unequally to produce a new meristemoid and a mesogene cell.

Stomatal meristemoids eventually function as guard-cell mother-cells. The adjective perigene is restricted to those cells that have arisen by divisions of protodermal cells surrounding the future stoma. The undivided cells surrounding protodermal cells should be termed agene cells, and not neighbouring cells, a term which should be restricted to morphological terminology.


Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

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

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