Kalanchoe and Marigolds

In this entry, I will be comparing the pictures of two different type of flower petals as seen under a foldscope!

Assuming the 140~ times magnification of the lens (as said in the foldscope kit) is accurate for my images, we are viewing the petals at approximately 2 microns! Which is probably not very accurate. But I don’t have the foggiest of where to start. The light source is an LED lamp balanced precariously on the side of my work-table.

First, we have flame kalanchoe, or, in Hindi, Bish Kobra or Zakhmihayat. The scientific name being Kalanchoe Farinacea, a species of plant in the Crassulaceae family. Kalanchoe is a type of succulent! It is easy to maintain and grows in bunches of small red flowers. Because my backyard has plenty of them, I took a petal. Then, using a common-pin, I split the petal into two. This, allowed it to be translucent enough for me to see it under the foldscope.


The surface of a Kalanchoe Farinacea petal.

Second, we have an orange marigold petal (also sourced from my backyard, may the now flowerless marigold plant rest in peace ), also know as Genda in Hindi! The scientific name is Tagetes, a genus of the sunflower family Asteraceae. The flower has very thin petals. So, it was surprising that the translucent layer of the petal was easily separated from the colour carrying layer. I used the common-pin for this as well. Using the side of the pin – rather than its point – to gently scrape away the colour carrying layer of the marigold petal.

The translucent layer of a
Tagetes petal!

As you can see, the colour carrying compound in the kalanchoe was not as distinct from its base as it was in the marigold. The kalanchoe petal was also much more translucent than I expected it to be after a single attempt at making it thinner. I have another picture of the kalanchoe petal taken significantly closer to the light source. Here the surface of the petal is less clear, but this is an interesting perspective nonetheless. I would venture to say that the individual cells of the petal are now visible. But I’m not certain, any feedback clarifying that would be very much appreciated!

The same kalanchoe petal but very close to the light source!

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