By Ian Walker.  United Kingdom.

The following images were taken on the JNOEC XPT-7 Polarising Microscope and Nikon Coolpix 4500 digicam from a collection of Brunel Microscopes

 plant section slides.

 [All images using the JNOEC 10x NA 0.25 Achromat and an old Baker non-compensating 5x eyepiece].



Fern leaf section in brightfield and polarised light, ferns were a prominent form of plant life during the Carboniferous period many millions of years ago

and today can be found in numerous different forms from 'tree-like' with trunks 80 feet tall to tiny fronds only a few cells thick. The remains of fern forests

contribute to the formation of our coal beds today.



Pine leaf cross-section. Pine trees are primarily found in the northern temperate regions and have many uses including the production of turpentine,

paper products, oils and wood tars. Pines are evergreen conifers and although they are classified as softwoods, commercially they are graded into

soft and hard pines which dictate their use.



Monocotyledon stem cross-section, typical examples are the flowering plants lilies, orchids and irises. The name comes from

mono [single] cotyledon, the cotyledon is the primary or seed-leaf in the embryo of a seed.



Pollen germinating, due to resistance of decay and distribution by wind across the world, pollen can be found in geologic sediments both ancient and modern

and are very useful in providing us with information on the history of terrestial plant life. Pollen comes in many different forms and due to their detailed surface

structures make an excellent microscopical subject.



Woody dicotyledon stem cross-section [taken at 3 years] in brightfield and polarised light. Many common garden plants are dicotyledon

including magnolias, roses and geraniums. Dicotyledon have two cotyledons or seed-leaves within the embryo contained in the seed. Most

plant material containing 'woody' parts will be attractive under polarised light as shown above.



Longitudinal section of the stem tip of Hydrilla verticillata, an invasive aquatic plant.



Lily anther section showing the pollen contained within.



Part of the 'umbrella' of a mushroom in section. Mushroom is the common term for the fruiting body or sporophore of fungi. Over the years

some interesting names have been given to mushrooms including beefsteak fungus, sulfur fungus, cauliflower fungus, the horn-of-plenty

mushroom, puffballs, stinkhorns, earthstars and bird's nest fungi!



Part of a corn seed in longitudinal section, polarised light.


 Comments to the author, Ian Walker, are welcomed.

Microscopy UK Front Page
Micscape Magazine
Article Library

Microscopy UK or their contributors.

Published in the August 2003 edition of Micscape.

Please report any Web problems or offer general comments to the Micscape Editor.

Micscape is the on-line monthly magazine of the Microscopy UK web
site at Microscopy-UK Ltd, Microscopy-UK, and all contributors 1995 onwards. All rights reserved. Main site is at with full mirror at