Manu informed me through this aricle that May is National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month. If you are the fortunate few who dont suffer pollen allergies, then May should be a very happy Foldscope month in the north east US. I have never enjoyed studying pollen as much as I did this year and continue to add to the pollen roster. Please join me if you can. The best thing is that I finally get to study the flowers that I see year after year. I just thought I’d share one such that I encountered today. Its a small flower and I had never seen it before and it had such as aesthetic combination of color that I picked it up before the bee could. It is a legume, with itts characteristic petal organization, but beyond that I havent identified it entirely. As you can see part of the petal is blue and towards the base it is white and has really nice orange spots on the white background. When I foldscoped the white part, I noticed some really interesting trichome structure and I was struck by the combination of color and shapes. The trichomes probably interact with the insects that pollinate them. Having seen so many trichome posts (for example, see Manu’s aesthetic trichome post) I am beginning to realize that trichome shapes and positional diversity are also a very interesting thing to study and systematize.
Row 1 shows the flower and the blue part of the petal. Rows 2 and 3 of the figure are the white part of the petal with orange spots, Row 4 displays the native and hydrated pollen. Click on the pics for high-res image.