Kitchen garden through Foldscope


During the summer vacations, I got the opportunity of exploring foldscope as a kitchen garden tool. I was able to see microscopic wonders in my own garden and familiarize the kids and my parents about the usage of foldscope.

Bean plant (Phaseolus spp.)

I started with a plant with hanging beans. The bean pods were slender and cylindrical.

It was a vine with white flowers having purplish tinge in the petals. I took a flower and separated its sepals and petals to see the typical Butterfly shape corolla.

Fused sepals

A bean flower and fused sepals 

There was a large bilobed petal (vexillum), two lateral small petals, just like the wings (alae) and two petals fused to form the boat shaped keel (carina). I focused a petal to show them the cells, which they enjoyed a lot.


The separated Standard, wings,  fused keel of Butterfly Corolla


The cells viewed in a petal 





I split open the fused petals to see the stamens in 2 groups – 9 fused in one cluster and 1 standing alone around the pistil.


On left side are the stamens (9+1) and on right side – the pistil

The pistil had a swollen ovary at the base, hairy style and lobed stigma. The hairs on the style were quite prominent and had some pollen entangled.

Hairy style – The style had abundant hair on it

Pollen can be seen entangled in hairy style 

I teased the anthers to release the pollen and fixed them on a slide. I could see the thick exine and the most amazing thing – dimorphic pollen. Some pollen were smaller in size and some larger.

Dimorhic pollen and the germinating pollen 

While observing the anthers and stigma some more hideous wonders were unfolded which I would be sharing later.




7 Comments Add yours

  1. jasdeepsingh_sd11 says:

    Lovely post ma’am.You are our greatest inspiration.

    1. JDua says:

      Thanks Jasdeep. I am also learning and enjoying foldscopy these days.

  2. Manu Prakash says:

    Fantastic work. Really like your descriptive nature of the steps – mysteries in our kitchen garden. I did not know pollen could come in multiple size?! That’s a first for me..


  3. varuni says:

    I see pollen of different size from the same flower/plant every now and then. Most of the time, it’s not actually dimorphic pollen — the difference you see in size is a result of different dessication levels. To check, you can add a drop of water and see if all of the pollen look the same. (Alternately, if you still have your slide, you can look at it a day or two later and if its sufficiently dried out, all of the pollen should look the same.)

  4. JDua says:

    Thanks Jasdeep. I am also learning and enjoying foldscopy these days.

  5. JDua says:

    Thanks Manu Sir. Your appreciation is a motivation to explore more. Thanks Ms. Varuni for your views. I will try to follow your suggestions and see the same. I will also try to stain using acetocarmine to confirm the same as I read somewhere about Male sterility and pollen viability. In that case dimorphic pollen are there especially in family Brassicaceae. Fertile and sterile pollen, where they differ in terms of size as well as staining.

  6. varuni says:

    Phaseolus spp. (and beans in general) are part of the Fabaceae family. Fabaceae and Brassicaceae are indeed related, but not very closely: .

    One way of measuring pollen viability is putting them in sugar water to see if they can grow pollen tubes.

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