Several species of plants have leaves which are 'fenestrated' - i.e. have large holes in them (from Latin fenestra, window). Notable examples are the Monstera genus (Araceae) e.g. the Swiss Cheese Plant.
It's known that the holes form due to programmed cell-death in certain regions of the leaves. Evolutionary theory suggests that the holes must have some advantage for the plants, but there is currently no agreement about what those advantages might be.
“There are several hypotheses on the potential adaptive value of the holes in Monstera plants, but no studies have been done to directly test these possible adaptive functions.”
Possible explanations include:
See : The adaptive function of leaf fenestrations in Monstera spp (Araceae) a look at water, wind, and herbivory Tropical Ecology Collection, Monteverde Institute.
Ideas for new topics, and suggested additions / corrections for old ones, are always welcome.
If you have skills or interests in a particular field, and have suggestions for Wikenigma, get in touch !
Or, if you'd like to become a regular contributor . . . request a login password. Registered users can edit the entire content of the site, and also create new pages.
( The 'Notes for contributors' section in the main menu has further information and guidelines etc.)