Stipule – Definition & Detailed Explanation – Identification and Classification Of Trees Glossary

What is a stipule?

A stipule is a small, leaf-like structure that is found at the base of a leaf stalk in many plants, including trees. Stipules are typically paired and can vary in shape, size, and texture depending on the species of plant. They are often found in pairs on either side of the leaf stalk, but in some cases, they may be fused together or absent altogether.

What is the function of stipules in trees?

Stipules serve a variety of functions in trees. One of the primary functions of stipules is to protect the leaf bud as it develops. Stipules can also help regulate the amount of light that reaches the leaf by shading it or reflecting light away. Additionally, stipules can aid in water conservation by creating a barrier that reduces water loss through transpiration. Some stipules also contain glands that secrete substances to deter herbivores or attract pollinators.

How do stipules vary in shape and size?

Stipules can vary greatly in shape and size among different tree species. Some stipules are small and inconspicuous, while others are large and prominent. The shape of stipules can range from linear or lanceolate to ovate or rounded. Some stipules are smooth, while others may be hairy or have spines. The size and shape of stipules can be important characteristics for identifying tree species.

What are the different types of stipules found in trees?

There are several different types of stipules that can be found in trees. Some common types of stipules include:

– Ochreate stipules: These stipules are fused together to form a sheath around the leaf stalk.
– Stipels: These are small, secondary stipules that are found at the base of the main stipule.
– Glandular stipules: These stipules contain glands that secrete substances.
– Spiny stipules: These stipules have sharp, pointed structures that can deter herbivores.
– Scale-like stipules: These stipules are small and flat, resembling scales.

Each type of stipule serves a specific function and can vary in appearance depending on the tree species.

How can stipules be used for tree identification?

Stipules can be a useful characteristic for identifying tree species. By examining the size, shape, texture, and arrangement of stipules, botanists and arborists can narrow down the possible species of a tree. Stipules can also provide clues about the habitat and growing conditions of a tree, as certain types of stipules are more common in specific environments. Additionally, the presence or absence of stipules can be a key feature for distinguishing between different tree species.

How do stipules contribute to the classification of trees?

Stipules play an important role in the classification of trees. Botanists use the presence, size, shape, and texture of stipules to help categorize trees into different families, genera, and species. Stipules are one of many characteristics that are considered when classifying plants, along with leaf shape, flower structure, and fruit type. By examining the stipules of a tree, scientists can gain valuable insights into its evolutionary history and relationships with other plant species. Overall, stipules are a key feature that contributes to the diversity and classification of trees in the plant kingdom.