Epidermal tissue system is the outermost covering of plants. It consists of epidermis, stomata and epidermal outgrowths. Epidermis is generally composed of single layer of parenchymatous cells compactly arranged without intercellular spaces. But it is interrupted by stomata. In leaves some specialized cells which surround the stomata are called the guard cells. Chloroplasts are present only in the guard cells of the epidermis. Other epidermal cells usually do not have chloroplasts. The outer wall of epidermis is usually covered by cuticle.
Stoma is a minute pore surrounded by two guard cells. The stomata occur mainly in the epidermis of leaves. In some plants such as sugarcane, the guard cells are bounded by some special cells. They are distinct from other epidermal cells. These cells are called subsidiary or accessory cells. Trichomes and root hairs are some epidermal outgrowths. The unicellular or multicellular appendages that originate from the epidermal cells are called trichomes. Trichomes may be branched or unbranched. Rhizodermis has two types of epidermal cells - long cells and short cells. The short cells are called trichoblasts. Root hairs are produced from these trichoblasts.
1. This tissue system in the shoot checks excessive loss of water due to the presence of cuticle.
2. Epidermis protects the underlying tissues.
3. Stomata involve in transpiration and gaseous exchange.
4. Trichomes are also helpful in the dispersal of seeds and fruits.
5. Root hairs absorb water and mineral salts from the soil.