Sunday, July 15, 2012

Hairy Glandular Trichomes!

More potato flowers. This to show the more hirsute varieties, particularly 'Boy's Pig'which has little hairs on both sides of the leaves as well (click on picture to enlarge). The hairs or trichomes on potato leaves release phenols and phenol oxidizing enzymes which react to form a sticky substance which hardens to entrap small-bodied insects. I think the first round makes them woozy then in the struggle to escape, they disrupt a second type of trichome which releases polyphenol oxidases. These oxidize the phenols into quinone and it hardens like cement around the feet of the unsuspecting creature. So, more hairs = less aphids! I will save seed from this one particularly furry plant for next year.

1 comment:

Q said...

wow - what clever potatoes!