Analyzing Leaf Structures!

On November 9, 2021, our EEB321 lab constructed Foldscopes, which are $1 microscopes created by Manu Prakash of Stanford University. As we were right in the middle of the fall season, the leaves around us were turning yellow and red, and many of them had fallen onto the ground. 

Although I walk around the campus everyday and often step on these red and orange leaves scattered across the ground, I rarely take the chance to stop and closely analyze them. Thus, the foldscope provided the perfect opportunity to further explore these different leaves on campus and get a closer look at the details! 

Here’s a picture of the changing foliage, as well as the many leaves that are on the ground around campus: 

So, in order to better understand the makeup of a leaf, I decided to take a leaf sample (from a maple tree) and place it under the foldscope to analyze it. 

Here are some pictures of the leaf under the microscope! 

It seems that these are plant cells, and it was very interesting to see such a close-up of the leaf! The recurring pattern of these cells and their relative sizes to each other was particularly noteworthy as well.

It was definitely fascinating to look at a leaf under the Foldscope, and get a closer look at the composition of leaves here on campus. 

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

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