In biology, an indumentum (Latin, literally: "garment") is a covering of trichomes (fine "hairs") on a plant[1] or of bristles (rarely scales) of an insect.[citation needed]

Indumentum of Echium vulgare
Caducous hairs on a developing pitcher of Nepenthes chaniana

In plants, indumentum types include:

  • pubescent
  • hirsute
  • pilose
  • lanate
  • villous
  • tomentose
  • stellate
  • scabrous
  • scurfy

The indumentum on plants can have a wide variety of functions, including as anchorage in climbing plants (e.g., Galium aparine), in transpiration control, in water absorption (Tillandsia), the reflection of solar radiation, increasing water-repellency (e.g., in the aquatic fern Salvinia), in protection against insect predation, and in the trapping of insects (Drosera, Nepenthes, Stylosanthes).

The use of an indumentum on insects can also be pollen-related, as on bees, sensory like whiskers, or for varied other uses including adhesion and poison.[citation needed]

Rust-colored indumentum on the underside of a bog Labrador tea (Rhododendron groenlandicum) leaf

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Davis, Peter Hadland and Heywood, Vernon Hilton (1963) Principles of angiosperm taxonomy Van Nostrandpage, Princeton, New Jersey, page 154, OCLC 552236

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