Plant Structure, Function, and Use

Shoots, Stems, and Leaves

What are trichomes?

Trichomes are hairlike outgrowths of the plant’s outer layer (epidermis). They are often found on stems, leaves (“wooly” or “fuzzy” leaves are covered by trichomes), and reproductive organs. Trichomes have many functions: They increase the rate of water absorption and reduce the rate of water loss due to evaporation in order to keep the leaf surface cool. They also provide a defense against insects, since the “hairiness” of the leaf impedes insect infestation; in addition, certain “hairs” release special chemicals to defend against potential damaging herbivores.


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