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Stomata are tiny pores on the surface of plant leaves and stems. They are surrounded by specialised cells called guard cells that can open and close the pores to regulate gas exchange between the plant and the air. Stomata are usually found on the underside of leaves, but can also be present on other parts of the plant such as stems and fruits.
The opening and closing of stomata is crucial for plant survival and growth. When the stomata are open, carbon dioxide from the air enters the plant and combines with water to produce glucose and oxygen through the process of Photosynthesis . This glucose is used as the primary source of energy for the plant. When the stomata are closed, the plant can save water by reducing transpiration, i.e. the evaporation of water through the leaves.
8 Important Functions of Stomata
- Facilitating Gas Exchange – One of the main functions of stomata is to regulate gas exchange between the plant and the atmosphere. When the stomata are open, they allow carbon dioxide to enter the plant for photosynthesis and release oxygen. When the stomata are closed, the plant conserves water but cannot take up carbon dioxide or release oxygen.
- Supporting Photosynthesis- The Stomata play a crucial role in the process of photosynthesis by facilitating gas exchange and evaporation of water. During photosynthesis, plants use the energy of sunlight to convert carbon dioxide and water into glucose and oxygen. The Stomata helps regulate the flow of these gases into and out of the plant.
- Regulation of water loss – Stomata are also important for regulating water loss in plants. When stomata are open, water evaporates through the leaves in a process called Transpiration. This can lead to significant water loss that can harm the plant in dry conditions. Guard cells surrounding the stomata can close the pores to reduce water loss and maintain a healthy water balance.
- Removing Excess Water – The Stomata helps to remove excess water from the plant in the form of water vapour. This process is crucial for maintaining a healthy moisture level in the plant and prevents waterlogging.
- Limiting Water Loss – The stomata close during the night, limiting water loss through evaporation. This helps maintain a healthy water balance in the plant and prevents excessive water loss during periods when the plant is not actively photosynthesising.
- Regulation of Moisture Levels- The stomata can close or open their pores in response to changing weather conditions to regulate the moisture content of the plant. Under hot, dry conditions, the stomata may close to conserve water, while under cool, humid conditions they may open to facilitate gas exchange.
- Removal of Oxygen – The Stomata also removes excess oxygen from the plant during photosynthesis, preventing the build-up of toxic oxygen concentrations that can harm the plant.
- Absorption of Carbon Dioxide- Stomata absorb carbon dioxide, which is essential for the process of photosynthesis. The plant uses carbon dioxide to produce glucose, which is the plant’s primary source of energy.