Trichome: unusual plant hair 

Did you kno; just like animals, plants also have hairs. That as quiet a surprise when I first learned about the same. More surprising though is the diversity of form and function found in plant hair. 

To explore this idea; I just took one single flower and searched for a number of hair geometry on a single petal. To my absolute surprise; I was able to count up to 6 different kind of plant hair on a single flower petal. Clearly they all have function that ties very closely to what the form is – but I don’t know what.. The structures were so mesmerizing; I documented them all here. Take a look at the collections. 



To give you a context of where I got them from; I started with a flower growing on the wall next door to my house. 



When you break open the flower; I could see some fuzzy strictures on the inside of the flower. I got very curious thinking about the function of such precise structure. 



This  was an exciting moment since I was able to discover a vast variety of “trichome” structures. I still can not get over the fact that such a macro structural variation exist; and clearly I don’t know any of the functional role. 





Enjoy 

Manu 



6 Comments Add yours

  1. laksiyer says:

    Wow.. these are fantastic pictures. The ones with the bulb like head look like glandular trichomes. They secrete a great diversity of small molecules with diverse functions. Used in defense usually or even in secreting a coat on the leaf for uv resistance. Sometimes you can see an oil cavity just above the epidermis, I think I see in one labeled sisters, which is what makes me feel they are glandular. The pointed one might be a non-glandular trichome. Some say that this is to protect against herbivorous insects and mammals. In Arabidopsis, the model experimental system, trichome development differs between the upper and lower surface of the leaf during development. These are poster-worthy pictures/

  2. jeneel says:

    Never seen so like these before in my life. its amazing…..mind blowing.before i didn’t know what trichomes are. I googled it and learned something new that i wouldn’t come across in my life as biology not being my field of expertise. thanks manu

    -JPK

  3. jeneel says:

    Never seen like these before in my life. its amazing…..mind blowing.before i didn’t know what trichomes are. I googled it and learned something new that i wouldn’t come across in my life as biology not being my field of expertise. thanks manu

    -JPK

  4. Manu Prakash says:

    Thanks @laksiyer and @JPK.

    @Laksiyer: I will look to see how separated each of them is spatially. It surprised me to see this diversity on a single flower petal. Almost all of the one I choose were on a flower (exactly where the pollination area is). So your theory of chemicals being involved makes a lot of sense to me – for co-evolution of specific favored insects.

    Fortunately, unlike east coast; I have access to flowers right outside my house (on the street). Which also gives me an idea to explore how pollution influences these structures.

    I have been trying to find trichomes where I could see cell division in action. I will keep looking – I am sure I will catch it 🙂

    Keep exploring.

    Cheers
    Manu

  5. Niramay Gogate says:

    Have you used some high end camera? or some special arrangement? because the images that you have posted are of very high quality; I have seen only a few images of this much clarity on this website…
    Any way , this is really a great post!

  6. Manu Prakash says:

    @Gogate: Sorry for late response.. no this is my usual iPhone. I often down sample my images before I post them – but in raw most of my images have the same level of details.

    Hope you have received your units in India 🙂

    cheers
    manu

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