An online resource based on the award-winning nature guide

Plant Bloom

bloom-049a1993Often you will notice a powdery white coating on raspberry and blackberry stems, as well as on a variety of fruits, including plums, blueberries, grapes and apples, and on the leaves of plants as well. This outer layer is referred to as bloom, and is produced by the plant’s epidermal cells. It consists particles of cutin, a waxy, water-repellent substance, embedded in epicuticular wax. One of its main functions is to reduce the loss of water. In repelling water, bloom also prevents bacteria and mold spores as well as air pollutants from entering the plant. In addition, it is responsible for the self-cleaning mechanism of plants. Bloom prevents dirt and other particles from sticking to the plant, so that when water rolls off the plant, it takes the dirt away. Using biomimicry, scientists have developed paint and textiles that stay clean by repelling dirt and water. Bloom is routinely harvested to polish and protect cars and furniture.

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5 responses

  1. Marilyn

    Aha! Interesting information about another fascinating adaptation. Thank you.

    December 5, 2016 at 8:23 am

  2. My Juniper berries now have this ‘plant bloom’ on them and every year in early winter a small flock of Cedar Waxwings come and check out the berries to see how they are doing. Later, usually in late February when the ‘bloom’ is gone and the berries are ripe, the Cedar Waxwings return, the whole flock of about 60 – 70 birds. It takes them a few days to clear out the Juniper berries of my tree.

    December 5, 2016 at 8:48 am

  3. “..routinely harvested” ??? Do folks cut the canes and boil to release this wax? … just wondering….

    December 5, 2016 at 11:06 am

    • It’s harvested in other parts of the world – not from our native plants, that I know of!

      December 5, 2016 at 11:52 am

  4. Robin Snyder-Drummond

    These are such interesting little tidbits, Mary! I really like this blog and find the daily updates to be a wonderful addition to my day. Thank you.

    December 6, 2016 at 12:10 pm

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