DR JEREMY BURGESS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR JEREMY BURGESS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
False colour scanning electron micrograph of a section across a cut leaf petiole (stalk) of the water lily Nymphaea album. The water lily has overcome the difficulty of getting air to its submerged roots by having large diameter open tubes within the leaf petiole. These hollow tubes are connected directly to large air spaces in the leaves, which contribute to the plant's bouyancy. The tubes are lined with epidermal cells & studded with branched trichomes (hairs, centre). Some tubes contain crystals of calcium oxalate (not seen). Their function is unknown. Oxalate is poisonous & may act as a deterrent to burrowing animals. Magnification: x10 at 6x4.5cm size.
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