Fibers

Last week, we organized a teachers workshop which had a session on fibers. Teachers worked with a range of fibers to test them for various properties like combustion: There was also a part of the unit where they looked at fibers under a microscope. I thought would be nice to try with a Foldscope. So…

A cactus flower!

At the end of a morning Foldscoping, I noticed a large closed bud (you can see one more in the background if you look carefully). This is the night blooming Bhramha Kamal (not to be confused with another completely unrelated flower in the Himalayas with the same name). So I waited till the night, and…

Garden city pollen

In early June, I was visiting family in Bengaluru. Located at almost the same latitude as hot and salty Chennai, Bengaluru’s elevation of about 900m above sea level, makes it possible to have pretty home gardens and lovely public parks, earning it the description of the Garden City of India.  So I took a break…

3 Purple flowers

(I’m trying to catch up on a long list of posts that I have been meaning to write. So here goes a the first of the shower of posts.) A couple of months ago (May/June) as I was running errands around my neighborhood and I noticed these three trees in bloom, all with purple flowers…

Marudam Farm School: teachers workshop

A few of weeks ago, a colleague and I visited Marudam Farm School (near Thiruvannamalai), a couple of hours outside Chennai. This is one of the schools that will be part of my Foldscope project. Just as we started the discussion, a lovely seed floated by. So we decided to look at it under the…

Monocot pollen

A couple of weeks ago I visited a farm in Guduvanchery on the outskirts of Chennai for a Hindustani concert. But I arrived a bit early. So I took a walk, and everything around seemed to be flowering and I am, now, of course always, equipped with a (finite) number of small packets to collect…

Fern spore catapult

I planted a fern in my garden a couple of months ago and ferns have been taking over! I’m not sure about the species — Ostrich fern (Matteuccia orientalis)? I remember learning about fern reproduction involving some strange alternation of generations with ‘spores’ that grow on the underside of leaves. Sure enough, there were a…

Pollen list

Here’s a list of pollen I have looked at (with links to the full post): Eudicots Unknown tree   Ixora coccinea   Desi Badam (Terminalia catappa) Murangai (Moringa oleifera) Papaya (Carica papaya) Nagalingam (Couroupita guianensis): Dimorphic pollen!! Unknown plant Indian Laburnum (Cassia fistula) Temple Tree (Plumeria spp.)   Karuvaipillai (Murraya koenigii) Copper Pod (Peltophorum pterocarpum) Unidentified…

Nagalingam Pollen — diversity in the SAME flower!

There’s a small dense grove of Nagalingam (Couroupita guianensis) trees on campus. Here’s one of the trees with its many low thin bare branches: There’s a lovely indescribable sweet but not quite saccharine fragrance as you walk by. Here’s one of the thick and rubbery fallen flowers: So I picked up one of these flowers…

Indian Laburnum pollen — a story of many anthers

  The Indian Laburnum (Cassia fistula) on campus are in full bloom! Here’s a close up one of the flower cascades:   The paths on campus are strewn with flower parts: I picked up one of the fallen stamens and broke it open onto a slide: And voila, all this pollen split out: The pollen…

Copper pod pollen

I was walking to my office and noticed these Copper Pod (Peltophorum pterocarpum) flowers: It’s a bit past their flowering season, so there aren’t really that many flowers: The flowers are laden with pollen — I couldn’t even get it back to my office without dusting my fingers with pollen: Here are many many fresh…

Vazhaipoo pollen

A friend of mine brought me a Vazhaipoo (banana flower) from his farm: Here are a close up of the tiny florets: This is a delicacy in south Indian homes. Basically, you take each floret, remove the style/stigma (they are very fibrous) and the sepal like transparent thing. Then you can cook the florets. I’m…

Desi Badam pollen

Here’s a Badam tree (Terminalia catappa) flowering : When I was trying to get pollen I found this well camouflaged spider hanging around: Not sure if it’s a pollinator or it’s lurking around for pollinators…… Even after avoiding our spider friend, plucking flowers and squashing anthers did not work very well — the pollen was…

More Measurements

So here are more trials with measurements on the Foldscope. I promise there is cool pollen at the end. (But feel free to jut TLDR and scroll to the end if you are just looking for cool pollen pics…) As pointed out by @laksiyer, there was a discrepancy in my estimated pollen size and the…

Measuring pollen (Peacock flower pollen)

Here’s a common shrub in Chennai: I think there is also a variant with bright yellow flowers. I don’t know the species name, but I’ve posted it on India Biodiversity Portal to see if anyone there can ID it. Heres its pretty flower: There’s a lot of easy to see pollen on the anthers —…

More Pollen!

During our second week of the Summer School Students Workshop 2018 at the The Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Chennai, we observed the diversity of flowers using the Foldscopes we assembled the week before. Here is a lovely bouquet of flowers we collected from around us: Lets start with our “model” flower, the Chembarathi or Hibiscus:…

Foldscope Session for Summer School Students Workshop @IMScChennai

The Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Chennai is hosting ~70 school students as part of an 8 day Summer School Students Workshop 2018. This week the students assembled Foldscopes: We had just about enough time to try out our Foldscopes with various slides! Here’s an ant stuck in a slide: Here’s some stomata from a leaf:…

Sea urchin spike

Found this sad sea urchin washed up on the beach last week: Here is one of its scary looking spikes: Was hard to see anything with the usual Foldscope set up. So after digging around a bit on the Microcosmos site, I found this post: A simple hack for reflection/epi-illumination using the foldscope Using a…

Seethaphazam pollen

Seethaphazam or Custard apple (Annona squamosa) trees have just started flowering: Heres the inside of the flower: Heres its stamen: I think thats dry pollen coming off it. After about an hour in glycerol, here’s some pollen dyads: (One dyad possibly has a pollen tube?) Pollen was also seen as tetrads: This post is open to…

Karuvaipillai Pollen

Karuvaipillai (Murraya koenigii) is flowering now! Here is some pollen from the flowers: Here is the same pollen after a couple of hours in glycerol: (The black lines in the background are the 1mm grid — would be good to have a more detailed grid to allow for generating a scale bar….) UPDATE: I tried…

Dancing Diatom @ICGEB, Delhi

Observed during DBT Foldscope workshop… Dancing Diatom Also from same sample, pirouetting mystery-bug-aggregate