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Plant Physiol. 2015 Jan;167(1):80-8. doi: 10.1104/pp.114.249235. Epub 2014 Nov 20.

Wax layers on Cosmos bipinnatus petals contribute unequally to total petal water resistance.

Author information

1
Department of Botany, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada V6T 1Z4 (C.B., D.H., R.J.); andDepartment of Chemistry, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada V6T 1Z1 (R.J.).
2
Department of Botany, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada V6T 1Z4 (C.B., D.H., R.J.); andDepartment of Chemistry, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada V6T 1Z1 (R.J.) reinhard.jetter@botany.ubc.ca.

Abstract

Cuticular waxes coat all primary aboveground plant organs as a crucial adaptation to life on land. Accordingly, the properties of waxes have been studied in much detail, albeit with a strong focus on leaf and fruit waxes. Flowers have life histories and functions largely different from those of other organs, and it remains to be seen whether flower waxes have compositions and physiological properties differing from those on other organs. This work provides a detailed characterization of the petal waxes, using Cosmos bipinnatus as a model, and compares them with leaf and stem waxes. The abaxial petal surface is relatively flat, whereas the adaxial side consists of conical epidermis cells, rendering it approximately 3.8 times larger than the projected petal area. The petal wax was found to contain unusually high concentrations of C(22) and C(24) fatty acids and primary alcohols, much shorter than those in leaf and stem waxes. Detailed analyses revealed distinct differences between waxes on the adaxial and abaxial petal sides and between epicuticular and intracuticular waxes. Transpiration resistances equaled 3 × 10(4) and 1.5 × 10(4) s m(-1) for the adaxial and abaxial surfaces, respectively. Petal surfaces of C. bipinnatus thus impose relatively weak water transport barriers compared with typical leaf cuticles. Approximately two-thirds of the abaxial surface water barrier was found to reside in the epicuticular wax layer of the petal and only one-third in the intracuticular wax. Altogether, the flower waxes of this species had properties greatly differing from those on vegetative organs.

PMID:
25413359
PMCID:
PMC4281003
DOI:
10.1104/pp.114.249235
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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