Agave leaf

Agave leaf

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This image is part of the feature Surface Of Plants

Credit: EYE OF SCIENCE/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

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, at centre) 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: x450 at 6x7cm size. x500 at 6x9cm

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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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