• Prunus laurocerasus;
  • epicuticular waxes;
  • intracuticular waxes;
  • layers;
  • leaves;
  • soluble cuticular lipids;
  • triterpenoids
  • GC;
  • gas chromatography;
  • SCL;
  • soluble cuticular lipids;
  • SEM;
  • scanning electron microscopy


The composition and spatial arrangement of cuticular waxes on the leaves of Prunus laurocerasus were investigated. In the wax mixture, the triterpenoids ursolic acid and oleanolic acid as well as alkanes, fatty acids, aldehydes, primary alcohols and alcohol acetates were identified. The surface extraction of upper and lower leaf surfaces yielded 280 mg m2 and 830 mg m2, respectively. Protocols for the mechanical removal of waxes from the outermost layers of the cuticle were devised and evaluated. With the most selective of these methods, 130 mg m2 of cuticular waxes could be removed from the adaxial surface before a sharp, physically resistant boundary was reached. Compounds thus obtained are interpreted as ‘epicuticular waxes’ with respect to their localization in a distinct layer on the surface of the cutin matrix. The epicuticular wax film can be transferred onto glass and visualized by scanning electron microscopy. Prunus laurocerasus epicuticular waxes consisted entirely of aliphatic compounds, whereas the remaining intracuticular waxes comprised 63% of triterpenoids. The ecological relevance of this layered structure for recognition by phytotrophic fungi and herbivorous insects that probe the surface composition for sign stimuli is discussed.