Pollen ropes

I made a surprising discovery while eating dinner today. My mom mounted some flowers on the dinner table; which she had plucked from the street. They are beautiful – and although everyone is eating dinner, I can’t focus on my food since something is bothering me about this flower. See for yourself!! 

You see the “fungal like” strands in the flower. Here is a digital zoom of the section. 

I quickly transferred this white material on my slide; while nobody has as yet noticed that I am not eating (I am sure they soon will). And the moment I put this on my Foldscope – I am shocked!! This is no fungus – but a “pollen rope”

These pollen ropes range from single pollen grain thickness to bundles that have no structure. If I use on it; I can squeeze them into an amorphous looking powder. 

Here I can also see the points of stiction between the pollen grains. What a wonderful sight. 

I have seen so many flowers; never seen such a structure only made out of pollen. What could be its use/function.  

One crazy idea I am exploring is May be this is how they are secreted from cells which become pollen. So I will now look closely at how pollen is actually made. 

What a wonderful diversion from dinner. But I better get back to eating before anyone notices. 



Ps: if you know the species of flowers; please leave that in the comment. And eat your dinner friends. 

4 Comments Add yours

  1. laksiyer says:

    @Manu, the yellow is a spadix of the arum-like flower (Araceae). The white petal like part is called a spathe (a derived leaf). The Spadix is a fleshy stem with many small flowers. It would be great as you write to get one where the pollen havent yet emerged and look at the little florets on the spadix. Good to see you back again. Hope to join the fun after the long long break.

  2. laksiyer says:

    BTW, its going into the pollen database

  3. Hey Manu – looks like a Cally Lily to me. When I showed your photos to my husband, who is a botanist. He said that they are called viscin threads and are often found in evening primroses. The sticky threads attach to visiting insect pollinators. Neat photos!

  4. Lydia-Marie Joubert says:

    I agree, this is most probably an Araeae species, probably Zantedeschia… if they’re growing wild on your sidewalk… but we’ll need more morphology to classify it correctly. More pics at dinner ! 🙂 This is what Kew writes about Zantedeschia, native to Southern Africa, and with ‘pollen threads ‘ ://www.kew.org/science-conservation/plants-fungi/zantedeschia-aethiopica-arum-lily. If you haven’t been, take a trip to Kew and use Foldscope as a great reason to go!

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