Trichome Spree #1

Dear All,

Hope you are doing good! I don’t know how to start this post without addressing the elephant in the room – the tiny corona virus that has lead to a pandemic of the COVID-19 infection. A lot of us are either self isolated, have someone who is in isolation or are just worried in general. It is difficult to not get worried when all that you’re hearing all day is how far and wide the corona virus is spreading!

For a change, how about we take a look at prettier things around us?

Since it is spring season, trees in the CHG campus are blooming with beautiful flowers. These were my inspiration behind the trichome spree! Especially the plants we will be focusing on in this post. I took these pictures weeks ago but am posting them today. College is shut and I’m back from Bangalore to my home in Mumbai! so maybe I can’t do more trichome spree posts but I urge all to take a closer look at the plants in your backyards 😀

I noticed that this one plant in campus is covered in trichomes from top to bottom! from the leaves and buds to the flowers and everything. Trichomes everywhere!

Here are pictures of the plant. I use google lens to ID the plants most of the times. It is quick and easy.
Google lens identified this plant as the Red Flag Bush. Scientific name: Mussaenda erythrophylla

Notice the hairy appearance of the buds and leaves.
The flowers have trichomes that are bigger in size compared to the ones on the leaves

One interesting thing is that, the green leaves have red trichomes on them.

Notice the colour of the trichomes

I have taken a closer look at these trichomes on the leaves using my foldscope.

Here we can see two types of trichomes, ones that are completely red and ones that are red and transparent. Also, there’s a pattern to how these types are distributed on the leaves, the older and bigger trichomes always are red/pink whereas the young ones have this kinf of “phase separated” cytoplasm in the cells.
Me and Suchith will be doing a few experiments to play around and figure out what is causing this phase separation. Is it a huge vacuole that is storing pigments? we hope to find out.

The second tree that I saw was this pink trumpet tree. Scientific name: Handroanthus impetigenosus

I could not take a picture of the flowers but here’s an image from google images.

With this, I end the post and urge all to take up the trichome spree series and post pictures of all kinds of trichomes you come across 😀
We can also try to make a nice trichome database like Laks sir’s pollen database.

Stay safe!

Have fun foldscoping!
Mitali Patil
(MSc) Centre for Human Genetics
Previously at: Ramnarain Ruia Autonomous College, Mumbai.

One Comment Add yours

  1. laksiyer says:

    Gorgeous Gorgeous. A trichome database is in order.

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