the tiny plant below is a stone plant seedling (aizoaceae), growing in the harsh conditions of the “knersvlakte” quartz gravel landscape in north-eastern south africa. the seedling has only formed its first pair of cotyledons, which are already completely covered in epidermal bladder cells:
bladder cells are modified trichomes (hair-like structures) common in the stone plant family (aizoaceae), which are used to remove salt from the plant system.
to give you a better sense of scale, here’s the same view plus my index finger tip:
- bladder cells: growth and development of mesembryanthemum crystallinum (adams et al., 1998)
- field trip report: namibia and south africa