Leaves of more cold hardy grapes have a higher density of small, sunken stomata
Leaf stomatal density, index and size are known to be affected by the growing conditions, presumably to provide a better function for plant development. The question was whether there is a difference in stomatal parameters between grape species with different cold hardiness: V. riparia and V. vinifera; and the V. vinifera cultivars 'Riesling', 'Chardonnay', 'Sauvignon Blanc' and 'Merlot'. Analysis by scanning electron microscopy allowed the observation of 3 types of stomata in developing and mature leaves of all examined grape leaves. Stomatal parameters were found to be significantly affected by species or cultivar and growing conditions but not rootstock. A higher stomatal density and index were determined for the more cold hardy V. riparia and V. vinifera 'Riesling', whereby the higher number of stomata in 'Riesling' was found to be due to a higher number of small, sunken stomata. These findings might indicate a strategy of grape plants to optimize growth under low temperatures by using fast-acting stomata whose gas and water exchange are less affected than for larger stomata.
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