Looking at 2 Backyard Leaves

I conducted this project as part of Professor Pringle’s EEB321 class at Princeton University. 

I had a lot of fun with my foldscope! I played around with looking at several different things from my house and backyard– some dried lavender, the wing of a helicopter (which I learned are actually called samaras!), part of a seed pod, and two leaves.

I was particular interested in comparing the two leaves. I chose one of them because it had sustained a lot of damage (possibly from insects?– I also noticed this plant while doing my vlog). However, the leaf was still on the plant and had managed to maintain its original shape (there were just a lot of holes!). The other was a young and healthy leaf that I picked from a vine, honestly mainly because it was really cute and tiny.

As I had suspected, the veins of the damaged leaf are still intact. I’m curious about the small flecks surrounding the veins. I think they are leaf matter. From looking at the leaf without the microscope, I would expect the remainder of the leaf itself to be attached to the veins. Looking through the microscope, however, it is difficult to tell because there appear to be significant gaps. Are some of the flecks leaf matter that has fallen off the leaf and been caught on the slide? If not, how is the leaf holding its shape? Comparing the damaged leaf with the intact leaf, I also wonder if there is a relationship between the areas of higher and lower concentration of flecks on the damaged leaf and the areas of lighter and darker color on the intact leaf.

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