DENNIS KUNKEL MICROSCOPY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DENNIS KUNKEL MICROSCOPY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Gardenia leaf cross section (Gardenia sp), coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM). A thin waxy cuticle is present on the upper and lower surface of the leaf. The rectangular line of cells near top of the leaf (right below the cuticle) is the leaf epidermis containing epidermal cells (without chloroplasts). The lower cuticle is visible but the epidermal cells are not visible in this image. The cuticle and epidermis helps to protect the leaf. The leaf interior contains mesophyll parenchyma cells that consist of two types 1) palisade mesophyll, oblong cells near the upper epidermis arranged perpendicular to the epidermal cells and 2) spongy mesophyll, (not visible in this image). The packed palisade mesophyll cells contain chloroplasts that are the major leaf sites for photosynthesis. The spongy mesophyll cells are loosely packed, with few chloroplasts and are more involved with gas exchange. Magnification: x160 when shortest axis printed at 25.
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