ANTONIO ROMERO / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ANTONIO ROMERO / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Pine cone. Light micrograph of a section through part of a female cone, or megastrobilus, of a pine tree (Pinus sp.). Female cones have two types of scales; sterile bract scales and seed, or ovuliferous, scales. At the base of each seed scale are two sac-like megasporangia inside which is an elongated spherical ovule (purple). The scales open to receive the male gametophytes (pollen) and then close when fertilise. When the seeds have reached maturity they scales re-open to disperse the seeds. The pink diagonal structure at lower right is part of the vascular bundle, which delivers water and nutrients around the plant. Magnification: x45 when printed at 10 centimetres tall.
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