DR KEITH WHEELER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR KEITH WHEELER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Oleander leaf. Light micrograph of a section through the leaf of an oleander (Nerium oleander) tree, showing its sunken stomata (gaps, centre left and right). Oleander is a xerophyte - a plant that is adapted to survive in arid conditions. The outer epidermis of the leaf is covered with a thick cuticle on both surfaces. Under this there are several layers of palisade mesophyll containing numerous chloroplasts. The lower epidermis has hollows full of hairs and stomata (pores) to cut down on water loss. Above the lower epidermis is a spongy mesophyll layer. At centre is midrib containing the phloem vessels that carry sugar, and xylem vessels that carry water and minerals. Magnification: x37 when printed 10 centimetres wide.
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