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: [more...]
this picture was taken in the rooiberg mountains near eksteenfontein (south africa), just south of the namibian border and close to richtersveld world heritage site. we visited the region while on a botanical field trip.
ammie, miri, christian and i did a quick evening hike up to one of the peaks (this specific one, to be exact), and arrived there just before darkness moved in across the land.
i also remember re-reading douglas adam’s “hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy” during that trip, and finding the number 42 here – in the middle of nowhere – painted in big white digits on a rock wall next to the road.
you can find more information about the trip in our field trip report: namibia and south africa.