SCIMAT / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SCIMAT / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Colour-enhanced Scanning Electron Micrograph (SEM) of Lythrum salicaria (purple loosestrife). Purple loosestrife is a flowering plant belonging to the family Lythraceae. Other names include spiked loosestrife, or purple lythrum. The fruit is a small 3-4 mm capsule containing numerous minute seeds. Flowering lasts throughout the summer. When the seeds are mature, the leaves often turn bright red through dehydration in early autumn; the red colour may last for almost two weeks. The dead stalks from previous growing seasons are brown. Purple loosestrife provides a model of successful biological pest control. Research began in 1985 and today the plant is managed well with a number of insects that feed on it. Five species of beetle use purple loosestrife as their natural food source and they can do significant damage to the plant. Image width: 2111 micrometers. Magnification: 47.4x if the image is printed 10 cm wide. Bar: 500 micrometers.
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