Agave leaf

Agave leaf

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Caption: Agave leaf. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of a freeze-fractured leaf of an agave plant (Agave univitata). The leaf is covered with a thick layer of wax (blue) which protects it from evaporation and insects. Crystalline needle-like structures (white, as seen at lower left) known as raphides act as hidden thorns to put off larger plant eaters. In the broken open cells (brown), chloroplasts (green balls) can be seen. These contain the green pigment chlorophyll and are the sites of photosynthesis. The Agave is a succulent plant that is native to the desert regions of the western hemisphere. Magnification: x145 at 6x7cm size. x220 at 4x5"

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Keywords: agave univitata, botany, chloroplasts, crystalline needles, desert, freeze fractured, insect defence, leaf, leaves, nature, plant, plants, protection, raphides, scanning electron micrograph, sectioned, sem, succulent, wax

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