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Protocols in ecological and environmental plant physiology


Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 37(10)

Comparative and functional morphology of hierarchically structured anti-adhesive surfaces in carnivorous plants and kettle trap flowers

Simon Poppinga A C, Kerstin Koch B, Holger Florian Bohn A C, Wilhelm Barthlott A D

A Nees-Institut für Biodiversität der Pflanzen, Meckenheimer Allee 170, D-53115 Bonn, Germany.
B University of Applied Science, Rhine-Wall, Landwehr 4, D-47533 Kleve, Germany.
C Present address: Plant Biomechanics Group Freiburg, University of Freiburg, Schänzlestrasse 1, D-79104 Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany.
D Corresponding author. Email: barthlott@uni-bonn.de
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Plant surfaces that are slippery for insects have evolved independently several times in the plant kingdom, mainly in the groups of carnivorous plants and kettle trap flowers. The surface morphologies of 53 species from both groups were investigated by scanning electron microscopy. It was found that the surfaces possess highly diverse topographical structures. We present a classification of 12 types of anti-adhesive surfaces, in regard to the assembly and hierarchy of their structural elements. The observed structural elements are different combinations of epidermal cell curvatures with cuticular folds or 3D epicuticular wax crystals and idioblastic elements.

Keywords: insect attachment, pitcher trap, surface microstructure.

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