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Planta. 2003 Jun;217(2):238-44. Epub 2003 Feb 18.

The root epidermis of Echium plantagineum L.: a novel type of pattern based on the distribution of short and long root hairs.

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Plant Science, School of Biological Sciences, The University of Auckland, Private Bag 92019, Auckland, New Zealand.


The great majority of angiosperm species form a group in which either every cell in the root epidermis produces a root hair, or the cells that produce these hairs are randomly distributed. We describe, for the first time, pattern in the root epidermal cells of a species within this group. The seedling root of Echium plantagineum L. (Boraginaceae) has an epidermis in which almost every cell produces a root hair, but these are of two types, short hairs (up to 200 micro m) and long hairs (>200 micro m), which are in separate cell files, with the cells bearing long hairs usually separated by one or two files of cells bearing short hairs; the epidermal cells with the long root hairs are longer than the epidermal cells with the short root hairs. The long root hairs are initiated and develop earlier than the short root hairs. Transverse sections of the region of the root which contains only developing long root hairs show that the hair cells are located above anticlinal walls between underlying cortical cells. We regard the distribution of root epidermal cells in E. plantagineum as a sub-type of this group. We discuss the possible evolution, from this sub-type, of another group that is characterised by hair cells and non-hair cells occurring in separate files.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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