I just picked my morning coffee; and walking back the I noticed a tiny white flower shining like a beacon of light. I could not believe my eyes; it looked as if the flower was producing its own light. What was really happening was light was shining on the petals in a strange way. A small observation like his enough for me to actually take a closer look; and I did pluck the flower (although it seemed like the Resturant owner might not have been happy). One day, I will explain to him that it was all for science.
I took the picture of the flower (please help me identify this – it looks like a common gardening flower) in transmitted light. Notice the strange shimmer.
Next, it was time for foldscope. I was shocked to see that the cells looked almost bloated with a fluid (almost like water balloons). Second surprise comes from the cell junctions themselves – which are ragged and kind of connect with each other. Seems to me that are actually allowing some light to pass through as well (which might mean that air might exist in the plane of sheet of cells). That is very very strange. We are used to thinking about sheets of cells as confident sheets – but here is a flower petal that might actually be putting air gaps to enhance optical properties (remember – the whole job of a petal is to get the flower noticed) which this little guy did very very well.
Take a look.
Also, above you can see a stomata. Yes; flower petals also seem to have stomata. What do they do that’s different from leaves? I don’t know 🙂
Under the microscope, I noticed a small region of damage on the petal itself. Which looked deep yellow/brown in color. It seems like some kind of fungus or another infection. I followed I through and found this yellow band of something (I can infectious) traveling right across the cell junctions. This could be the mechanism how plant disease propagate – just shoving themselves in between cell junctions.
I took some beautiful movies of the cells as well (will post here shortly); but I could mr wait but share this. Walk around and keep your eyes open; this world is a very strange place.
1) if you have some reference on reflective properties of petals and its importance for pollination – please leave a note.
2) if you know of such a cell junction (curved with air gaps) or what that matter; if you know of any cell sheet with an air gap; please please leave a note.
3) if you know what flower it is, I would be indeed very grateful.