Leaf morphological traits are the result of individual plants mutating and passing their heritable traits to offspring. These adaptations are typically vital for plant function, including the ability of a leaf to repel water. In this study, we investigated how cuticle thickness, stomatal density, and trichome density affect the contact angle of water droplets on the surface of a leaf. As a secondary objective, we compared the contact angles of an acidic solution with pure water to understand how solution acidity affects contact angle. We measured five plant species and 30 leaves from each species. We found that trichome density had a positive relationship with leaf water contact angle, suggesting that greater trichome density leads to higher hydrophobicity. We also found that acidic solutions have a lower contact angle than pure water suggesting that acidic solutions have a higher hydrophobicity than pure water. Stomatal density and cuticle thickness did not appear to significantly influence leaf hydrophobicity.
Lott, Steven M.
"The effect of leaf morphological traits and acidic wet deposition on hydrophobicity,"
RURALS: Review of Undergraduate Research in Agricultural and Life Sciences: Vol. 14:
1, Article 2.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.unl.edu/rurals/vol14/iss1/2