Cross-sections of lily pad stem.

I have a camera attached to a microscope so I can age fish scales and then store the images. While out fishing the other night, I was fiddling with some lily pad stems and pointing out some ‘things’ about them to my fishing buddy, and decided to take a piece home and have a look at it under the microscope. Here are some of the neater pictures.

While the green “cells” in the middle of the stem might appear to be individual cells, complete with visible nucleus, they are in fact a collection of cells and the “nucleus” is actually a “tube” in cross-section. Later close-ups will illustrate this better.

Cross-section of stem showing cell differentiation.

We’re getting close in the next picture. You can begin to see the individual cells in both the “green” areas, an you can start to see the walls of the individual cells in the “tubes”. Also, the ‘spicules’ are clearer.

A closer look at the cross-section.

DIfferent contrast to illustrate different features.

This picture is closer yet. (Background colors change in order to maximize contrast.) In this picture, you can see the individual cells that make up the walls of the tubes and those that make up the “green” areas as well as the smaller tubule in the center of each of the green areas. Also, a fairly good look at the spicule.

Closer look yet. The individual cells are clearly visible and there is a good look at the spicule.

The rest of the pictures are just more of the same with differing contrasts.

I don’t know what function the spicules perform. I contacted a prominent botanist at a “big” university to try to find out. She asked for the pictures, and I sent them, but I never heard from her again. If “you” know what function the spicules perform, or you know someone that might, let me know, please.

Paul


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