Pigment in Flower Petal

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

While looking outside one afternoon, I found flower petals that had fallen from a bush. I have seen the plant in the past, but I do not know the exact species. The flowers were pink in color and still bloomed despite the cold fall weather.

I took a sample from one petal by tearing off small pieces to place onto the Foldscope. I found that the petal was translucent; small pockets of light shone through the red and pink web. The amount of pigment also differed in each area – certain spots seemed to be darker or less transparent than others. I suspected that this occurred due to natural variations in the structure of the petal or from weathering as the petal decomposed.

In the future, I hope to read more about why flower petals show this pattern in their coloration. Perhaps the cellular structure of the plant creates gaps at a larger scale.

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