Grass vs. Leaf

I have here a picture of a leaf and a blade of glass, which I found in one of the grassy areas on my college campus. I was interested to see whether I could see any structural differences between the two in foldscope, outside of the obvious differences in shape. I was surprised to see the stark differences in structure that could be observed. In the leaf, there are branching veins that spread out throughout its structure from a main central vein, which makes sense, given what we regularly see on the leaf. I was more intrigued by the strictly vertical structure of the blade of grass. I expected there to be an obvious central vein in the blade of grass as well, given that it has a visible fold. However, it was interesting to observe several parallel and equal veins vertically going up the blade of grass as can be seen in the grass picture from the foldscope. Upon reflection, these observations make sense given the two very different shapes and functions of the grass blade and the leaf. I would be interested to learn about the evolutionary advantage for having parallel veins verses a central vein like the leaf. Perhaps, it is advantageous for the leaf to have a main vein because it carries the products of photosynthesis to the remainder of the plant, whereas the grass might not have the same need to transport centrally. However, there are still roots in grass species so I would expect that there would be some advantage to have the products collect centrally for delivery to the roots, assuming it is required for growth in the roots as well. I would also be interested to see if the veins in the blade of grass converge at the bottom of the blade or at any point throughout the plant.

Grass Blade in Foldscope

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