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.
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.