Stomata are often absent, absorption and excretion of gases in solution being carried on through the epidermal layer.
In a few cases there is a special surface or epidermal layer, but usually all the outer layers of the stem are composed of brown, thick-walled, lignified, prosenchymatous, fibre-like cells forming a peripheral stereom (mechanical or supporting tissue) which forms the outer cortex.
Mention may be made here of a class of epidermal organ, the hydaihodea, the wide distribution and variety of which have been revealed by recent research.
In one type they may take the form of specially-modified single epidermal cells or multicellular hairs without any direct connection with the vascular system.
The epidermal, conducting and strengthening tissues show on the other hand considerable modifications both in form and structure.