Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Stained-Glass Cells


It may look like Lewis Tiffany but, surprise, it's a plant. Is there a cathedral inside every blade of grass? More pictures in the Scientific American slide show Small Wonders found here.

Here's how the picture was taken:


Botanist Anatoly I. Mikhaltsov of the Children's Ecological and Biological Center in Omsk, Russia, was studying the anatomy of Aloe erinacea, an endangered species of aloe endemic to Namibia, when he captured this image of the plant's aloin cells (blue)—which secrete a component of the gel-like sap that oozes from an aloe's severed leaf—using a coloring method that he developed. The cluster of aloin cells is 300 microns wide.

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