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Keywords:

  • exudation pressure;
  • latex;
  • laticifer;
  • resin duct;
  • secretory canal;
  • tissue pressure;
  • turgor pressure

Summary

The plant kingdom has elaborated several conducting systems. Three are primarily for mass transport: the aerenchyma (for gas exchange in submerged parts), the phloem (for exchange of nutrients within the plant), and the xylem (largely for transport of water from soil to transpiring leaves). Two others are believed to be primarily defensive and to store under pressure aversive contents which they exude when punctured: the laticifer and the secretory duct. This review provides for the latter two systems the highlights of what is known about their general physiology and ecophysiology but not their metabolism and their molecular biology. It is argued that, given the importance of laticifers and secretory ducts to plant defense against insect herbivory, these structures are under-investigated and deserve more intensive study.