Stomata are crucial in land plant productivity and survival. In general, with lower irradiance, stomatal and epidermal cell frequency per unit leaf area decreases, whereas guard-cell length or width increases. Nevertheless, the stomatal index is accepted as remaining constant. The aim of this paper to study the influence of ordinary epidermal cells and stomata on leaf plasticity and the influence of these characteristics on stomata density, index, and sizes, in the total number of stomata, as well as the detailed distribution of stomata on a leaf blade. As a result, a highly significant positive correlation (R²a = 0.767 p < 0.001) between stomatal index and stomatal density, and with ordinary epidermal cell density (R²a = 0.500 p < 0.05), and a highly negative correlation between stomatal index and ordinary epidermal cell area (R²a = -0.571 p < 0.001), were obtained. However in no instance was the correlation between stomatal index or stomatal density and stomatal dimensions taken into consideration. The study also indicated that in coffee, the stomatal index was 19.09% in shaded leaves and 20.08% in full-sun leaves. In this sense, variations in the stomatal index by irradiance, its causes and the consequences on plant physiology were discussed.
stomatal index; stomatal density; sun and shade plants; Coffea arabica L.