Bristles and spines from cactus, Mammillaria

Bristles and spines from cactus, Mammillaria

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Credit: DR JEREMY BURGESS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY.

Caption: Macrophotograph showing bristles (glochids) & spines from the cactus Mammillaria martinezii. The spines develop from stem buds, which in cacti are paired; the lower bud forms the spines & the upper one the branches & flowers. In some species of cactus, such as this, the lower bud is raised on a tubercle (visible), while the upper bud is set in a recessed axil. Spines & bristles protect the fleshy stem from grazing animals, an important function in their arid habitat. A dense covering of both restricts tranpiration during the periods of intense sunlight & drought. The tips of the spines & bristles are barbed making extraction difficult. Mag: X1.4 (35mm size).

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Keywords: botany, bristle, cactus, glochid, macrophotograph, mammillaria martinezii, nature, plant, plants, spine

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