Gland (botany)

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Glands in a leaf of St. John's wort

The glands of plants are single cells, tissues, or intercellular ones that secrete secretions . The endoplasmic reticulum , the Golgi apparatus and the cell nucleus are often strongly developed in the gland cells.

Functions of the secretions

The secretions formed in the cytoplasm perform various functions:

  • Milky sap, gum and resins seal wounds.
  • Essential oils, fragrances and nectar are used to attract animals.
  • Alkaloids and steroid glycosides contained in secretions deter herbivores .
  • In salty locations, plants secrete excess salts via salt glands.
  • Carnivorous plants, such as the sundew family , form sticky secretions with which they catch insects and then digest them with exoenzymes from digestive glands.

to form

The shape of glands is just as diverse as their functions:

  • When intercellular spaces take on a glandular function, they are surrounded by chlorophyll-free cells. Examples are the glands in the leaves of St. John's wort , which appear as small bright spots, and the glands in the peel of lemons and bitter oranges.
  • Superficial glands like the nectaries contain cylindrical or prismatic cells. The cuticle above it is lifted by the secretions and later perforated.
  • Other forms of plant glands are glandular hairs and water-separating hydathodes .


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