Smilax root, light micrograph

Smilax root, light micrograph

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Credit: DR KEITH WHEELER/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Smilax root. Light micrograph of a section through a root from a China root (Smilax china) plant. The outer epidermis has old root hairs (pink). Below the epidermis are thick-walled cork cells (red). The outer core (endodermis, red) is made up of thick walled cells, below which is the pericycle. Underneath this is the vascular tissue containing phloem (blue) and with xylem vessels (red). The central pith of the root is composed of parenchyma cells full of starch grains. The dried root of this plant is called saraparilla and used as a source of starch, for medicinal purposes or as a beverage. Magnification: x13 when printed 10 centimetres wide.

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