Last Updated: January 24, 2017

Definition - What does Stomata mean?

In botany, stomata are microscopic pores found on the epidermis of plants. Though most stomata are found on leaves, they can be found on all aboveground parts of a plant. These pores allow the exchange of gases between the outside environment and the air canals within a plant. These pores play a critical role in the process of photosynthesis, and can open and close as a response to environmental conditions.

Stomata may also be known, or spelled as, stomate.

MaximumYield explains Stomata

Stomata are made up of two cells, known as guard cells, and an opening known as a stoma. This arrangement, when viewed through a microscope, resembles a small mouth. The guard cells, or what can be viewed as “lips,” respond directly to environmental factors, and can swell to close off the stoma, or deflate to open it. This opening and closing regulates the intake or release of carbon dioxide, oxygen, and water vapor.

When the guard cells are deflated, carbon dioxide and oxygen enter the plant through the stoma. Carbon dioxide and water are converted into sugars for nutrients, and oxygen is used for respiration. In addition, oxygen created from photosynthesis is released through these pores. Although plants benefit greatly from this process, it is not without risk. When the guard cells deflate and the stoma is open, the plant becomes vulnerable to water loss. This is especially true in hot, dry environments where a plant can experience significant water loss through the stomata.

This definition was written in the context of Botany
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