Pollen grains: tactoids and spiky spheres

Hi Foldscope Expolorers! This is my first foldscope adventure. Last year, Manu shared the joy of foldscopy with a bunch of us at the University of Chicago. Yesterday, I finally built my own foldscope and I’m excited to try it out! Next week, I will share foldscopy with some Chicago Public School teachers. Hopefully, their…

Marudam Farm School: teachers workshop

A few of weeks ago, a colleague and I visited Marudam Farm School (near Thiruvannamalai), a couple of hours outside Chennai. This is one of the schools that will be part of my Foldscope project. Just as we started the discussion, a lovely seed floated by. So we decided to look at it under the…

Monocot pollen

A couple of weeks ago I visited a farm in Guduvanchery on the outskirts of Chennai for a Hindustani concert. But I arrived a bit early. So I took a walk, and everything around seemed to be flowering and I am, now, of course always, equipped with a (finite) number of small packets to collect…

Pollen list

Here’s a list of pollen I have looked at (with links to the full post):   Karuvaipillai (Murraya koenigii)   Peackock Flower (Caesalpinia pulcherrima)   Desi Badam (Terminalia catappa)   Vazhaipoo (Musa sp.) Copper Pod (Peltophorum pterocarpum) Indian Laburnum (Cassia fistula) Nagalingam (Couroupita guianensis): Dimorphic pollen!! Unidentified flower Heliconia species Easter lily (Amaryllidinae) Coconut (Cocos…

Nagalingam Pollen — diversity in the SAME flower!

There’s a small dense grove of Nagalingam (Couroupita guianensis) trees on campus. Here’s one of the trees with its many low thin bare branches: There’s a lovely indescribable sweet but not quite saccharine fragrance as you walk by. Here’s one of the thick and rubbery fallen flowers: So I picked up one of these flowers…

Indian Laburnum pollen — a story of many anthers

  The Indian Laburnum (Cassia fistula) on campus are in full bloom! Here’s a close up one of the flower cascades:   The paths on campus are strewn with flower parts: I picked up one of the fallen stamens and broke it open onto a slide: And voila, all this pollen split out: The pollen…

Copper pod pollen

I was walking to my office and noticed these Copper Pod (Peltophorum pterocarpum) flowers: It’s a bit past their flowering season, so there aren’t really that many flowers: The flowers are laden with pollen — I couldn’t even get it back to my office without dusting my fingers with pollen: Here are many many fresh…

Vazhaipoo pollen

A friend of mine brought me a Vazhaipoo (banana flower) from his farm: Here are a close up of the tiny florets: This is a delicacy in south Indian homes. Basically, you take each floret, remove the style/stigma (they are very fibrous) and the sepal like transparent thing. Then you can cook the florets. I’m…

Desi Badam pollen

Here’s a Badam tree (Terminalia catappa) flowering : When I was trying to get pollen I found this well camouflaged spider hanging around: Not sure if it’s a pollinator or it’s lurking around for pollinators…… Even after avoiding our spider friend, plucking flowers and squashing anthers did not work very well — the pollen was…

More Measurements

So here are more trials with measurements on the Foldscope. I promise there is cool pollen at the end. (But feel free to jut TLDR and scroll to the end if you are just looking for cool pollen pics…) As pointed out by @laksiyer, there was a discrepancy in my estimated pollen size and the…

Measuring pollen (Peacock flower pollen)

Here’s a common shrub in Chennai: I think there is also a variant with bright yellow flowers. I don’t know the species name, but I’ve posted it on India Biodiversity Portal to see if anyone there can ID it. Heres its pretty flower: There’s a lot of easy to see pollen on the anthers —…

More Pollen!

During our second week of the Summer School Students Workshop 2018 at the The Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Chennai, we observed the diversity of flowers using the Foldscopes we assembled the week before. Here is a lovely bouquet of flowers we collected from around us: Lets start with our “model” flower, the Chembarathi or Hibiscus:…

Foldscope Session for Summer School Students Workshop @IMScChennai

The Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Chennai is hosting ~70 school students as part of an 8 day Summer School Students Workshop 2018. This week the students assembled Foldscopes: We had just about enough time to try out our Foldscopes with various slides! Here’s an ant stuck in a slide: Here’s some stomata from a leaf:…

Getting to know my (plant) neighbors Episode 1 – Camellia japonica 椿

Hi Foldscopers! フォールドスコープ探検隊の皆さんこんにちは! I went for a very long walk with a mission, follow a river from the upper watershed all the way down to the mouth. 休日の散歩に、近くを流れる川に沿って上流から河口まで散策しました。 Along the way, I found many kinds of plants, both wild and cultivated. I consider them my neighbors, and I’d like to introduce them to you! And…

Seethaphazam pollen

Seethaphazam or Custard apple (Annona squamosa) trees have just started flowering: Heres the inside of the flower: Heres its stamen: I think thats dry pollen coming off it. After about an hour in glycerol, here’s some pollen dyads: (One dyad possibly has a pollen tube?) Pollen was also seen as tetrads: This post is open to…

Karuvaipillai Pollen

Karuvaipillai (Murraya koenigii) is flowering now! Here is some pollen from the flowers: Here is the same pollen after a couple of hours in glycerol: (The black lines in the background are the 1mm grid — would be good to have a more detailed grid to allow for generating a scale bar….) UPDATE: I tried…

Foldscope Day 3: Ants, Pollen, and Berries up close

Ants I stuck an ant under the foldscope. The ant and the foldscope did not disappoint. What looks to the eye approximately like this… …under the foldscope, is transformed into this. So of course, I had to take a video and explore this ant further. Here’s what I saw. Amazingly, the ant is actually translucent,…

Hibiscus pollen grain

I saw a post earlier about pollen grains on the microcosmos. Was curious so I took out my high magnification foldscope and took a look and the hibiscus pollen grains from my garden.

Foldscoping in South India

My journey into the microscopic world began in Chennai some three decades or more ago with a simple bulb microscope (40x). So it was no wonder that I was really excited to revisit my childhood with a foldscope. Chennai is a bustling metropolis in the South-east  of India. Being along the Bay of Bengal, it…

Tradescantia pollen

These are pollen grains from a Tradescantia flower. The opaque material at the edge of the first two images is the anther itself.

Pollen Hunters project-II : Pollen roster

Update 6/6/2016. Made the table scrollable for computers and phones. I took help from this page. Update 4/20/2016. Reducing column numbers to fit new format Update 11/2/2015. Added Contributors column. Update (10/2/2015): Added plants that were observed in India, in August 2015. I also have an extensive analysis of trichomes of the Indian plants. Please visit here…

A catalpa flower and its thrip

The best thing about hunting for the unknown is seeing the unexpected.  I was on a morning walk through the woods in my area scouting for flowers when suddenly I saw over a 100 flowers strewn on the path. The flowers were orchid-like, white with purple streaks with orange/yellow spots,  and were really pretty to behold. After…

The Journey To Spread Pollen (BioE80 Spr2015)

Being tasked with exploring the micro-world around us, my partner and I set out to answer the question: how do flowers spread pollen? While this is not a new inquiry, we wanted to see for ourselves what our textbooks had only abstracted to us. As a result, we found two different anther samples and proceeded…

Hibiscus pollens

I got my foldscope a few weeks ago and I spent many days learning how to use it. My cousin, who is doing bio-tech , helped me a lot in preparing slides and taking photos. Following are the pictures of pollen grains of hibiscus plant in our garden taken with Moto G (5 mega pixel…

Trichomes and pollen

Manu informed me through this aricle that May is National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month.  If you are the fortunate few who dont suffer pollen allergies, then May should be a very happy Foldscope month in the north east US. I have never enjoyed studying pollen as much as I did this year and continue…

Pollen Hunter project– exploring a staining protocol

Continuing from my previous post, I have now begun foldscoping pollen from various flowers. After the first trials, I even posted pictures from my first 9 flowers. However, I was greatly bothered that the pollen morphology seemed to change after staining. In particular post-staining they mostly looked spherical. I admit that the staining protocol I used…

Pollen from Hibiscus flower

Pollen grains from an unknown Hibiscus sp. The grains were collected by gently dabbing a tape slide against the anthers. Also included are some photos of the flower and plant the pollen was collected from.