Science project

Comparing Leaf Stomata


  • Plant field guide or dichotomous key
  • Clear nail polish
  • Transparent tape
  • Microscope
  • Microscope slides


  1. Collect leaves of 3-5 plant species. Identify the species with a plant field guide or dichotomous key. Create your hypothesis as to which species will have the most stomata and why.
  2. On the bottom of each leaf, paint a 1 inch square section of clear nail polish. Allow to dry. Place clear tape over each section of nail polish and carefully remove from the leaf. This will give you an impression of the epidermis of the leaf. Fix the tape to a microscope slide and label with the plant species. Repeat for each species that you are testing.
  3. With the microscope on the lowest setting, focus your slide to see the stomata. Once you have a good view, switch to the next magnification. Look at the stomata from each magnification available. Determine at which magnification the stomata are the most easily viewed. Write this setting down to use with each slide. Draw the stomata and describe their general shape and size. In a single field of view, count the number of stomata. Switch the field of view and count again. Do this a total of 3 times. Repeat the entire procedure for each species. Be sure to use the same magnification setting each time you observe, draw, and count the stomata.
  4. Calculate the average number of stomata in the field of view and create a bar graph to display your results. Compare your results to your hypothesis to draw a conclusion about the stomata and adaptations of the plants you studied.
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