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|Our subscribers' grade-level estimate for this page: 5th - 7th|
Label Leaf Cross Section
Read the definitions below, then label the leaf cross section diagram.
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air space - intercellular gaps within the spongy mesophyll. These gaps are filled with gas that the plant uses (carbon dioxide - CO2 ) and gases that the plant is expelling (oxygen - O2, and water vapor).|
cuticle - the waxy, water-repelling layer on the top and bottom surfaces of a leaf; it helps keep the leaf from dying out (and protects it from invading bacteria, insects, and fungi). The cuticle is secreted by the epidermis. Label the cuticle on the top and bottom of the leaf.
guard cell - one of a pair of sausage-shaped cells that surround a stoma (a pore in a leaf). Guard cells change shape (as light and humidity change), causing the stoma to open and close.
lower epidermis - the waxy skin (outermost cells) on the underside of a leaf, usually one cell thick; it keeps the leaf from drying out.
mesophyll - the chlorophyll-containing leaf tissue located between the upper and lower epidermis. These cells convert sunlight into usable chemical energy for the plant.
palisade mesophyll - a layer of elongated cells located under the upper epidermis. These cells contain most of the leaf's chlorophyll, converting sunlight into usable chemical energy for the plant.|
spongy mesophyll - the layer below the palisade mesophyll; it has irregularly-shaped cells with many air spaces between the cells. These cells contain some chlorophyll. The spongy mesophyll cells communicate with the guard cells (stomata), causing them to open or close, depending on the concentration of gases.
stoma - (plural stomata) a pore (or opening) in a leaf where water vapor and other gases leave and enter the plant. Stomata are formed by two guard cells that regulate the opening and closing of the pore. Generally, many more stomata are on the bottom of a leaf than on the top.
upper epidermis - the protective, outer layer of cells on the upper surface of a leaf, usually one cell thick. The epidermis secretes the waxy cuticle. The upper epidermis contains some guard cells (but fewer than the lower epidermis).
vein (vascular bundle) - Veins provide support for the leaf and transport both water and minerals (via xylem) and food energy (via phloem) through the leaf and on to the rest of the plant.
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