The accumulation of essential oils in plants is generally limited to specialized secretory structures, namely, glandular trichomes (hairs) which are multicellular epidermal glands, found in some families such as Lamiaceae, Asteraceae, and Solanaceae, and which secrete terpenes in an extracellular cavity at the apex of the trichome. Storage of terpenoids in these structures can also be used to limit the risk of toxicity to the plant itself. The morphology of these structures varies according to the conditions of irrigation and also according to the toxicity of intracuticular contents and can be changed with the phenology of the plant. The secretory glands of aromatic plants come in different shapes and sizes, in order to ensure a specific function. This function consists mainly in the protection of different plant organs and the attraction of pollinators. Some scientist classified these glands into peltate hairs and capitate hairs, based on morphological criteria; however, others classified them into short-term glands and long-term glands, based on the mode of secretion. Short-term glands are glands that secrete rapidly to protect young organs. The long-term glands are glands in which the secretory substance accumulates gradually in the subcuticular space and play a role in the protection of mature organs such as the flower, as well as in pollination. According to this definition, he inferred that the capitate hairs are the short-term glands, while the peltate hairs are long-term glands. The difference between these two types of glands consists several aspects like structure, mode of secretion, and timing of secretion. In this object, this chapter includes some microscopic observation to glandular hairs and their combination with mode of secretion, nature of contents, and phenology of plant to give a good comprehension and classification.
Part of the book: Essential Oils