Cuticle

In botany the cuticle is the waxy covering produced by the epidermal cells of leaves to protect the plant from excessive water loss. The cuticle is thicker in plants living in dry climates than in those from wet climates.

The cuticle is mostly composed of cutin and waxes. Cutin is a biopolyester made of interesterified hydroxy, and epoxy-hydroxy C1616 and C18 fatty acids. Cutin, as a structural component of the cuticle, is covered with cuticular and epicuticular waxes, a mixture of hydrophobic materials containing C26 to C36 aliphatic compounds.


The cuticle in human anatomy refers to the thickened layer of skin surrounding the fingernails and toenails. The function is to protect the area between fingernail and epidermis from exposure to harmful bacteria. Beneath the cuticle is a thin layer of pterygium.

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