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A tiny opening, or pore, in the epidermis of a leaf

Common clues: Leaf opening; Leaf pore

Crossword puzzle frequency: once a year

Frequency in English language: 42555 / 86800

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In botany, a stoma (also stomate; plural stomata) is a tiny opening or pore, found mostly on the underside of a plant leaf and used for gas exchange. The pore is formed by a pair of specialized parenchyma cells known as guard cells which are responsible for regulating the size of the opening. Air containing carbon dioxide enters the plant through these openings where it is used in photosynthesis and respiration. Oxygen produced by photosynthesis in the spongy layer cells (parenchyma cells with pectin) of the leaf interior exits through these same openings. Also, water vapor is released into the atmosphere through these pores in a process called transpiration.

Stoma in a tomato leaf shown via colorized scanning electron microscope image

Stomata are present in the sporophyte generation of all land plant groups except liverworts. Dicotyledons usually have more stomata on the lower epidermis than the upper epidermis. Monocotyledons, on the other hand, usually have the same number of stomata on the two epidermes. In plants with floating leaves, stomata may be found only on the upper epidermis; submerged leaves may lack stomata entirely.



This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Stoma"