tag archives: botany

squirting cucumbers in action [slow motion video]

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not too long ago, we came across a small patch of squirting cucumbers (ecballium elaterium) in spain, and wanted to see their rather spectacular mode of seed propagation in action:

using hygroballochory, the species can expel its seeds into distances of up to 12 meters.

footage was recorded with a gopro hero 3 black at 120 fps, 720p. clips are in real-time, 4x slow motion, and (last sequence) 8x slow motion (i.e.15 fps), respectively.

[category: general] [tags: , , , ]

epidermal bladder cells on a tiny desert-plant seedling in south africa [photo]

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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:

a tiny stone plant seedling (aizoaceae) that is 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: [more...]

the beauty of wood anatomy

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wood is one of the most important substances in the human world: it’s essential for areas as diverse as music (instruments), construction, living (furniture, heating), art (sculptures) and has a broad spectrum of other uses.
its beauty can be found anywhere along the way, from a living tree to a carefully carved toothpick. going a bit deeper, it seems to just get more and more beautiful.

sweet chestnut (castanea sativa) - year rings and wood anatomy

in this post, i’d like to show you the beauy of wood anatomy at a magnification that shows individual water transport vessels. [more...]

[categories: nature, photo] [tags: , , , ]

piz val gronda: rare plant species

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piz val gronda, a summit right at the swiss-austrian border, used to be a site of beautiful biological and geological diversity. it used to be home to several species very rare in austria, most notably, the rock partridge (alectoris graeca) and a species of hawksbeard (crepis rhaetica). it also features a unique landscape with geological rarities (at least in austria) such as gypsum sinkholes (dolines).

crepis rhaetica, extremely rare in austria

late last year, after more than 28 years of trying, the ski industry eventually won and was granted permission to build a ski lift up to the top of the mountain. that is, ignoring several nature conservation expert’s reports that warn against a pristine and unique ecosystem being damaged or lost forever. [more...]

[categories: nature, photo] [tags: , , , ]

botanical excursion to slovenia, in lightfield pictures

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botanical excursion to slovenia, in lightfield pictures i’ve just uploaded some lightfield photos of last weekend’s botanical field trip to slovenia. we made stops at lukovec (primorska), podpec, piransk and the gorge of pekel.
in this album, you’ll mostly find pictures of flowers and small animals. :)

botanical highlights were several rare plants including the carniolian primrose (primula carniolica) and moehringia tomasini, of which only 6 small populations are known in the world. i’ll upload these photos later on.

three teaser-pics:

(lytro living picture: click to refocus, click&drag for perspective shift)
(view on lytro.com


underwater photos of chara vulgaris

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i’ve been meaning to post these for quite some time now: chara vulgaris is a multicellular green alga in the family characeae (de: armleuchteralgen; the closest relative of green land plants).
here are three underwater pictures of chara vulgaris in its natural habitat:

pictures were taken in telfs, austria. species identification was done by a colleague adept in algae.

[categories: nature, photo] [tags: , , ]

sterile plant culture

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the tip of a carnation shoot (dianthus sp.) is taken and ridded of all the leaves, except the primordial leaves

about one year ago, i took part in a laboratory class where we learned various methods related to artificial plant reproduction.
one of the exercises was to create meristem cultures from a carnation plant (dianthus sp.), under sterile conditions.

from each shoot of the plant, we removed the developing leaves on the tip, almost down to the meristem (the few primary cells that constantly divide into more cells). we stopped the exraction at the smallest primordial leaves, placed the tiny piece of plant material on culture medium (in test tubes, under sterile conditions), added a cap to the tube, and sealed it with parafilm.
the following weeks, it was positioned beneath a daylight lamp, and after the experiment was finished, i asked if i could take one specimen home with me.

march 16th: meristem culture about two months after the procedure. development of root tissue.

considering that it’s an almost completely closed system, i didn’t expect little william the carnation to last this long: the plant grew and grew until it reached the top, and i’ve just recently placed it upside down, so that it could grow “upwards” again.

two notes:
most people don’t consider that, in darkness, plants need to “breathe” just as animals do (as in: use O2 and release CO2), so the gas contents are probably still OK, if only limited. (also, i’m assuming that parafilm isn’t able to stop slow diffusion of gas molecules completely.)

supposedly getting low on fresh nutrients, the plant seems to have given up on the lower leaves so that it could develop new ones. the old, withered leaves do not decompose since there aren’t any microorganisms in the system.

photos: sterile plant culture

[categories: photo, science] [tags: , , ]