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Sundew pollen, SEM

Sundew pollen, SEM

C039/0733

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Credit

STEVE GSCHMEISSNER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY STEVE GSCHMEISSNER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Sundew pollen, coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM). Drosera, commonly known as the sundews, is one of the largest genera of carnivorous plants. The pollen grain type is compound, which means four microspores (pollen grains) are stuck together with a protein called callose. The flowers of sundews, as with nearly all carnivorous plants, are held far above the leaves by a long stem. This physical isolation of the flower from the traps is commonly thought to be an adaptation meant to avoid trapping potential pollinators. Members of the family Droseraceae lure, capture, and digest insects using stalked mucilaginous glands covering their leaf surfaces. The insects are used to supplement the poor mineral nutrition of the soil in which the plants grow. Magnification: x1000 when printed at 10 centimetres wide.

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