Cystolith in a leaf cell

Cystolith in a leaf cell

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Caption: Polarised light micrograph of a transverse section through the upper surface of an unidentified leaf, showing a specialised cell known as a lithocyst. The lumen of the cell contains an outgrowth of the cell wall on which is deposited a concretion of calcium carbonate (lime). The mass of calcium carbonate itself is known as a cystolith. Lithocysts occur in relatively few plant species; the rubber plant (Ficus elastica) and the stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) are the most common examples. The function of these specialised cells is unknown. Magnification unknown.

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Keywords: botany, calcium carbonate, cystolith, leaf, leaf cell, leaves, lithocyst, nature, plant, plants, polarised light micrograph

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