Early Season Development of Micro/Nano-Morphology and Superhydrophobic Wetting Properties on Aspen Leaf Surfaces


The rapid growth and early development period of the dual-scale surface topography was studied on the adaxial leaf surfaces of two aspen tree species with non-wetting leaves: the columnar European aspen (Populus tremula “Erecta”) and quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides). Particular attention was focused on the formation of micro- and nano-scale asperities on their cuticles, which was correlated with the development of superhydrophobic wetting behaviour. Measurements of the wetting properties (contact angle and tilt-angle) provided an indication of the degree of hydrophobicity of their cuticles. Scanning electron microscopy and optical profilometry micrographs were used to follow the growth and major morphological changes of micro-scale papillae and nano-scale epicuticular wax (ECW) crystals, which led to a significant improvement in non-wetting behaviour. Both species exhibited syntopism in the form of small and larger nano-scale ECW platelet morphologies. These findings provide additional support for earlier suggestions that due to fluctuations in leaf hydrophobicity throughout the growing season, canopy storage capacity may also vary considerably throughout this time period.

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Tranquada, G. , Victor, J. and Erb, U. (2015) Early Season Development of Micro/Nano-Morphology and Superhydrophobic Wetting Properties on Aspen Leaf Surfaces. American Journal of Plant Sciences, 6, 2197-2208. doi: 10.4236/ajps.2015.613222.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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