How to Cite

Benzing, D. H. (1976). BROMELIAD TRICHOMES: STRUCTURE, FUNCTION, AND ECOLOGICAL SIGNIFICANCE. Selbyana, 1(4), 330–348. Retrieved from


Perhaps all epidermal trichomes have evolved to perform one or more functions of significance to the plants which bear them. The known roles that stem and foliar trichomes play are both varied and numerous. Some are obvious, such as the excretory activities of salt glands of halophytes, the secretory capacities of digestive hairs of many carnivorous species, and the light-reflecting and insulating qualities of the indumentum produced by certain cacti and other drought-enduring xerophytes. Recently, more subtle protective functions have been recognized (e.g., Rathcke and Poole, 1975). In, these instances trichomes may act by simply obstructing feeding attempts while others offer protection against certain phytophagous insect larvae by puncturing the bodies of these creatures as they attempt to crawl over the plant surface. Although far from complete, the developing picture of trichome function already supports the supposition that most plant hairs perform SOme (although perhaps yet undiscovered) task of adaptive significance to their bearers.


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