Sewing needle and spine of cactus, Opuntia

Sewing needle and spine of cactus, Opuntia

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Caption: Scanning electron micrograph of the spine of Opuntia aurantiaca, a cactus, resting near the point of a sewing needle. The spine is about 15mm long with barbs on the terminal 2mm. They are designed to slide in easily & withdraw painfully, more likely, break off in the skin. Spines protect the plant from grazing animals, an important function in the arid regions where they grow. In some cases the spines & bristles (glochids) form a dense covering over the stem, sheilding it from sunlight. Spines develop from stem buds, which in cacti are paired; the lower one forms the spine, the upper one, flowers or branches. Magnification: X130 at 10x8 inch, X37 at 6x7cm size.

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Keywords: botany, cactus, nature, needle, opuntia aurantiaca, plant, plants, scanning electron micrograph, sem, sewing, spine

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