Are dandelion petals more than one cell? (BioE80 Spr2015)

We were looking at dandelions near the mainquad and wanted to know whether or not the white dandelion petals were made up of one cell or more than that.  To find the answer to this question we took a few of the white dandelion petals off of a plant and prepared a slide for the foldoscope.

With the slide underneath the foldoscope we were sure to move the slide back and forth to observe as much as we could and were even able to take a few photos, like this one:

Dandelion Spines

In this picture you can see that the petals kind of look like spiny fibers, but even this was not close enough to answer our question.  So we took a few more photos and came up with this photo:

Dandelion Vacuoles


In this photo it is possible to see distinct, transparent bodies within the petal but since they seem to be empty and it is hard to tell whether the blackish dots are nuclei within cells or just shadows of spines, it is safe to assume that the transparent bodies are just cell vacuoles (organelles that can provide storage or support for a cell).

In the end our findings are not conclusive as to whether or not dandelion cells are unicellular (one cell) or multicellular (many cells together).  In the future, we could more systematically take pictures up the stalk of the petal to see if we can find any cell borders.

By: Jordan Gunning and Elizabeth Culbertson

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