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Similar geometric rules govern the distribution of veins and stomata in petals, sepals and leaves


Zhang, F-P and Carins-Murphy, MR and Cardoso, AA and Jordan, GJ and Brodribb, TJ, Similar geometric rules govern the distribution of veins and stomata in petals, sepals and leaves, New Phytologist, 219, (4) pp. 1224-1234. ISSN 1469-8137 (2018) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2018 The Authors.

DOI: doi:10.1111/nph.15210


  • Investment in leaf veins (supplying xylem water) is balanced by stomatal abundance, such that sufficient water transport is provided for stomata to remain open when soil water is abundant. This coordination is mediated by a common dependence of vein and stomatal densities on cell size. Flowers may not conform to this same developmental pattern if they depend on water supplied by the phloem or have high rates of nonstomatal transpiration.
  • We examined the relationships between veins, stomata and epidermal cells in leaves, sepals and petals of 27 angiosperms to determine whether common spacing rules applied to all tissues.
  • Regression analysis found no evidence for different relationships within organ types. Both vein and stomatal densities were strongly associated with epidermal cell size within organs, but, for a given epidermal cell size, petals had fewer veins and stomata than sepals, which had fewer than leaves.
  • Although our data support the concept of common scaling between veins and stomata in leaves and flowers, the large diversity in petal vein density suggests that, in some species, petal veins may be engaged in additional functions, such as the supply of water for high cuticular transpiration or for phloem delivery of water or carbohydrates.
  • Item Details

    Item Type:Refereed Article
    Keywords:epidermal cell size, floral evolution, hydraulics, stomatal density, vein density.
    Research Division:Biological Sciences
    Research Group:Plant biology
    Research Field:Plant physiology
    Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
    Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
    Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the environmental sciences
    UTAS Author:Carins-Murphy, MR (Miss Madeline Carins-Murphy)
    UTAS Author:Cardoso, AA (Ms Amanda Cardoso)
    UTAS Author:Jordan, GJ (Professor Greg Jordan)
    UTAS Author:Brodribb, TJ (Professor Tim Brodribb)
    ID Code:126303
    Year Published:2018
    Funding Support:Australian Research Council (DP170100761)
    Web of Science® Times Cited:26
    Deposited By:Plant Science
    Deposited On:2018-06-04
    Last Modified:2019-03-22

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