Coloured decomposing leaf of Magnolia

Coloured decomposing leaf of Magnolia

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Caption: Magnolia leaf decomposing. Coloured image of a leaf of Magnolia grandiflora in the process of decomposition. The skeleton of leaf veins (pink lines) is seen. Other pink areas on the leaf edge and between the veins show the breakdown of green tissues (mesophyll). Leaves rot away due to the action of micro-organisms in the soil, notably bacteria and fungi. Mesophyll decomposes first, leaving a network of veins which in life conducted water through the leaf. The veins are made up of cellulose and lignin, substances which are more resistant to decomposition. Eventually the leaf skeleton of veins breaks up mechanically and the residue forms part of the humus in the soil.

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Keywords: botany, decompose, decomposing, decomposition, leaf, leaf skeleton, leaf vein, leaves, magnolia, magnolia leaf, nature, of magnolia, plant, plants, skeleton, vein

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