DENNIS KUNKEL MICROSCOPY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DENNIS KUNKEL MICROSCOPY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Spanish moss leaf trichome (Tillandsia usneoides), coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM). This is not a moss but an epiphytic bromeliad, a plant which lives on other plants but does not harm them. The leaf trichomes of the Bromeliaceae family are scale-like in appearance. These plants use such scales for water absorption. The humidity of the air is collected within the scales with the help of capillary forces and later on used by the plant. Plant trichomes are fine epidermal outgrowths that have diverse structure and function. Examples are hairs, glandular hairs, scales, and papillae. Often trichomes are used for plant protection. Magnification: x85 when shortest axis printed at 25 millimetres.
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