Water Loss Resistance

Take some pictures of plants you see around town. How do their shoot systems help to resist water loss?

Charlotte is not considered an area of little moisture, and therefore there are very few natural plant species that have specialized adaptations for preventing water loss. All plants, however, have a waxy covering on their leaves called the cuticle. This covering seals the top surface of the leaf. Through it, sunlight can enter the cells for photosynthesis, but water cannot evaporate through it in transpiration. The underside of leaves, however, do not have this cuticle so that gas exchange can occur. Visually the difference between the top and underside of leaves are obvious. Even the coloration is different in the leaves pictured here.



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