11.29.2008

Pretty Pollen



Who'd have guessed this spiky orb is a grain of morning glory (Ipomoea purpurea) pollen, and not some strange sci-fi asteroid? Electron microscopes, such as the one at Dartmouth's Rippel Electron Microscope Facility which made these photos, give us a whole new view of worlds hidden until this incredible technology could reveal them. The morning glory is colorized; electron microscopes "see" in black and white. A truer view can be seen in the picture of collected grains of pollen from sunflower (Helianthus annuus), morning glory (Ipomea purpurea), hollyhock (Sildalcea malviflora), lily (Lilium auratum), primrose (Oenothera fruticosa) and castor bean (Ricinus communis). More cool color-enhanced images of pollen can be found here, and more black and white pollen shots here. Prowling around at this site will uncover other microworld wonders: nicotiana leaves, coleus stems and other botanic bits.

4 comments:

patientgardener said...

What fabulou images - they make you apreciate just how wonderful nature is

Aerie-el said...

Those are way cool. After seeing those photos, who wouldn't want to look at powdery mildew or anything else under a (electron) microscope?! ~Aerie-el

Steve Silk said...

Thanks Patientgardener! It's all in the details.

Steve Silk said...

Hi Aerie-el! Almost anything looks cool under one of those microscopes. Even bugs! The intricacy of nature is astounding.--Steve