Homepage » Courses Offered » Undergraduate Studies » 3rd 13A507 Plant Anatomy



Compulsory/Elective Code Semester Lectures Practicals Credits ECTS
Elective 13A507 3rd 3 Hrs/Wk 3 Hrs/Wk 4 4.5

Students with particular interest in approaching the internal structure and organization of the higher plants are prompted to get acquainted to the impressive adaptations plants have developed in order to confront the stressing environmental conditions which are intense and unpredictable in areas with Mediterranean climate.

Through these adaptations plants are protected and succeed in regulating their metabolic pathways, mainly those of the secondary metabolism, so as to produce tool metabolites which help escaping the stressing conditions the environment poses. Sometimes, these metabolites are very useful to humans. They were used for thousands of years in traditional remedies and medical practices. We “rediscover” these valuable substances to enrich our “artillery” of health protection and support nutrition and prosperity.   

The stinging hair of the well-known nettle "Urtica dioica", the resin ducts of the conifers and the mastic tree, the secretive trichomes of thyme and oregano as well  those of the aromatic species "Pelargonium odoratissimum", the oil ducts of celery, the laticifers of the fig tree and the secretive cells within the laurel leaves are all considered as structures developed to relief the plants from environmental stress and most of the times have a multiprotective role. Students, by getting familiar with the structures and the mechanisms developed by the plants may expand their interest and broaden the prospects of their occupational quests.


The subject of the courses, after a long period of “evolution”, has been altered in order not only to avoid overlapping with the compulsory course of «Botany» but also – and mainly – to offer the pieces of knowledge tied up with the plants of Greece and directly connected to the history and their uses since, recently, they are in the core of interest of the pharmaceutical, cosmetic and nutritional industry. Therefore, the detailed approach of the general anatomical structures of the plants, in the classical pattern of the descriptive anatomy (cell, tissues, organs etc) has been excluded

During the lectures of the course the special, impressive and interesting anatomical features of the plants which every student can see in the Greek nature are presented. It is obvious that, students must have a fundamental knowledge of plant anatomy through the compulsory courses of «Botany».


Part A: The students will get acquainted to the Mediterranean climate, the Mediterranean plant formations as well the peculiarities and environmental stresses of the Mediterranean plant life. The evergreen sclerophyllous plants and their adaptations of these plants to the two, distinct and seasonally separated environmental stresses, will be presented. The phryganic formations and the interesting strategy of the seasonal dimorphism will also be analyzed.

Part B: The students will follow a presentation of more that seventy plant species common in Greece. They will approach the anatomical features of these plants, they will “investigate” certain interesting structural details through optical and electron microscopy (both transmission and scanning), they will corelate the structural features to the plant uses and discuss on the bioactive compounds and their utilization and exploitation.

Part C: In the last part of the lectures an attempt is made to associate the structural characteristics of the plants to the interesting metabolites they produce, the uses of these metabolites not only in the pharmaceutical industry, nutrition and cosmetology but also in other industrial practices and applications as well as their financial importance and the possibilities of further exploitation through modern technology.


1. Epidermis – tissue isolation. 2. Secretive structures. 3. Root anatomy. 4. Apical meristems. 5. Shoot anatomy. 6. Secondary xylem architecture. 7. Leaf anatomy – adaptations. 8. Flower. 9. Fruit, seed and embryo.

  Lectures: Dr. N. S. Christodoulakis, Professor of Plant Anatomy
  Practicals: N. S. Christodoulakis, Professor of Plant Anatomy - Dr. Helen Giannoutsou, Laboratory Teaching Staff - Dr. Pen. Sotiriou, Laboratory Teaching Staff
  If you require more information, please contact the Course Coordinator, Prof. N. S. Christodoulakis at: Tel: (+30) 210 727 4650; e-mail: nchristo[at]biol.uoa[dot]gr