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image of Israel Journal of Plant Sciences

The structure and function of glandular trichomes associated with the trap of the bladderwort Utricularia are reviewed. This is based on knowledge gained with the light microscope by early workers and the results of more recent studies using the electron microscope, correlated with new physiological concepts concerning the operation of the glands. Several different glandular trichomes occur on the trap. These include four-armed quadrifids and two-armed biflds on the inside of the trap, closely arranged pavement epithelium glands lining the threshold of the doorway, and squat dome-shaped external glands on the outside of the trap and other organs of the plant. The glands consist of a basal epidermal cell upon which rests a pedestal cell that, in turn, supports one to four terminal cells depending on the particular gland. The pedestal cell has an impermeable lateral wall and is differentiated as a transfer cell, the most developed being that of quadrifids and biflds. The internal glands function in removing excess water from the lumen of the trap after firing, solute transport and the digestive activities of the organ. The external glands on mature traps excrete the excess water, but during early stages in their ontogeny they have a role in solute absorption from the external medium. The excretion of water by mature external glands is achieved through the establishment of an osmotic standing gradient between the pedestal cell and the open cuticle at the surface of the terminal cell. The glandular trichomes of the doorway are concerned mostly with the secretion of mucilage which seals the door after firing and may also attract prey.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Botany, University of Canterbury


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