Trichomes are hair cells or leaf hairs derived from specialized epidermal cells on leaf or stem surfaces. These hairs are produced as a result of the outward growth of one or more epidermal cells. Epidermal tissues give rise to appendages (trichomes) such as spines, hairs or glands that give plant leaves or stems distinctive textures. In the case of this hibiscus plant, trichome hairs are branched with sharp defensive points to ward off insects that might feed on the leaves. Some glandular trichomes, such as those on a nettle, break off when touched, penetrate the skin, and inject a poisonous substance. The tomato plant glandular trichome breaks open to release a yellow chemical substance that produces the characteristic tomato plant smell.

Image and text copyright © Dennis Kunkel. All rights reserved.

View Order

Image Galleries: Gallery of the Hubble Space Telescope | David Malin's Astronomical Journey | Dennis Kunkel's Microscopic World | Astronomy Gallery | Earthshine/Moonshine by Matt BenDaniel | Robert Gendler's Window on the Universe | Earth from Space | Light Years by Russell Croman | Ted Kinsman's World of Science | A Cosmic Perspective by Akira Fuji | As Viewed from Earth by David Miller