Stinging hairs under nettle leaf

Stinging hairs under nettle leaf

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Credit: DR JEREMY BURGESS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY.

Caption: Scanning electron micrograph, tinted green, of the tip of a stinging hair on the undersurface of a stinging nettle leaf, Urtica dioica. The base of another stinging hair is in the background. The stinging hairs have silicified tips which break off when the nettle is brushed against or stroked (not grasped). The sting penetrates the skin, inj- ecting a mixture of acetylcholine & histamine; the former is a neurotransmitter substance normally produced at nerve terminals, the latter a chemical mediator normally produced by mast cells & respon- sible for many of the symptoms of allergic react- ions. Only the long hairs sting; short ones are harmless. Magnification: X 16 at 35mm size. Original is BW print B745/045.

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Keywords: botany, leaf, leaves, nature, nettle, plant, plants, stinging hairs, stinging nettle, urtica dioica

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