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Stinging nettle trichome

 
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Charles Krebs



Joined: 01 Aug 2006
Posts: 4347
Location: Issaquah, WA USA

PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2011 7:35 pm    Post subject: Stinging nettle trichome Reply with quote

Quite by accident I came across some nettles the other day .

So after the numbness in my finger tips subsided I carefully collected some, and took a look at the underside of a leaf. Here you can see a nice example of a stinging trichome along one of the leaf veins. The tapered tube is very stiff and brittle due to a composition that includes silicates. The small ball-shaped tip breaks off easily on contact resulting in an extremely sharp point. The bulbous base, although appearing somewhat solid, is actually quite flexible, somewhat like an inflated bag, so that the enclosed liquid (containing sodium formamide, acetyl choline, histamine) is readily "pumped" into the unfortunate creature that pushed against the tube.

Olympus BHA, BH2-UMA, MSPlan 10/0.30 and NFK 2.5X, Canon T3i. (25x recorded on sensor). Illuminated with base light coming through leaf surface.



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Last edited by Charles Krebs on Thu Jun 30, 2011 10:35 am; edited 1 time in total
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RogelioMoreno



Joined: 20 Nov 2009
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Location: Panama

PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2011 8:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Charles,

Very nice!

Very good notes.

Rogelio
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rjlittlefield
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Joined: 01 Aug 2006
Posts: 14169
Location: Richland, Washington State, USA

PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2011 10:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Incredible quality, both technical and artistic. This could be an illustration in anything from a textbook to a fairy tale.

--Rik
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dennisua



Joined: 31 May 2011
Posts: 84
Location: Kiev, Ukraine

PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2011 11:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So that's how it looks! Very nice picture!
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Cactusdave



Joined: 09 Jun 2009
Posts: 1133
Location: Bromley, Kent, UK

PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2011 12:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Stunning image. As Rik says, it has aesthetic beauty, while conveying scientific information in a very striking way. I love the lighting, it just compliments the image so well.
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Pau



Joined: 20 Jan 2010
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Location: Valencia, Spain

PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2011 2:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Extraordinary image!

Is it Urtica sp?
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Pau
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Mitch640



Joined: 15 Aug 2010
Posts: 2137

PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2011 3:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A beautiful image, but I still don't like nettles. Smile
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lauriek
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Joined: 25 Nov 2007
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Location: South East UK

PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2011 4:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Beautiful! I've been meaning to try these but never got round to it, not sure I'll bother now!! Wink The little ball is very interesting, I suppose if that wasn't there the sharp end would gradually 'erode'...

What I hate with nettles is kneeling on little ones, oooooooooouch!
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discomorphella



Joined: 01 Oct 2006
Posts: 349
Location: NW USA

PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2011 8:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Charlie--

That's just spectacular. Its as though you have a SEM on your desk instead of a BHA....and the backlighting is amazing, especially coming up through the vein on the leaf. Now I want to thin section a nettle leaf through the trichome.


David
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Charles Krebs



Joined: 01 Aug 2006
Posts: 4347
Location: Issaquah, WA USA

PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2011 11:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks all.

Pau,
Yes, definitely Urtica sp., most likely Urtica dioica.

This was the second leaf tried on the microscope. For the first one I had simply cut out a section and placed it on the slide to photograph. But it was not successful... I watched one trichome after another simply "fall over" as the liquid at the base of the "needle" drained into the cut the leaf section. The rigid needle remained intact, but the base shrunk quickly like a thick balloon with a leak. It illustrated clearly just how flexible the bulbous base is. On the second try I made a tiny "pool" of water (with putty) on the slide, used a whole leaf, and positioned the leaf stem so that it rested in the water. Worked fine.

Last time I posted a shot of this subject (4 years ago!), Betty mentioned its use in salads, as well as nettle eating contests.

I knew that it was used as a salad, but every time I encounter this plant I wonder about the first person to entertain the idea of this as a foodstuff. As I said 4 years ago:

... makes me smile and wonder at the thought process involved in the first person to try that... something like this:
OUCH! This plant is nasty! It really stings and itches if you touch it.... how about we serve some up with dinner?

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Marek Mis



Joined: 10 Jul 2010
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Location: Suwalki, Poland

PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2011 11:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Charlie,

Beautiful image !
It is very pleasant to see the nettle in your photography. It is one of my the most favourite plants for microphotography (especially in polarized light).

Best regards

Marek
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Wim van Egmond



Joined: 15 Aug 2006
Posts: 693
Location: Rotterdam, the Netherlands

PostPosted: Fri Jul 01, 2011 1:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow, that is spectacular. It was one of the things on my to do list. Guess I can skip that one. Smile I think it is not easy to find something that has not been seen on the forum. Not that we have to, but it is fun to discover new subjects.

Wim
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Antonio Garrigós Sánchez



Joined: 12 May 2011
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 01, 2011 1:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very nice, beautiful.
Neither the books I remember seeing much detail
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Planapo
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Joined: 07 Nov 2006
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Location: Germany, in the United States of Europe

PostPosted: Sat Jul 02, 2011 12:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow, perfect image, Charlie!

Back then 4 years ago, I thought those images couldn't be done better, but now with this one you've really trumped yourself.

Look, after a hard day of photographing the nettles, you may want to enjoy them even more, with your well-earned evening beer, it might take a six-pack, though Wink :
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pW1qs3Gz30I

--Betty Smile
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abpho



Joined: 17 Aug 2011
Posts: 899

PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2011 7:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Awesome shot. Perfect execution.

PS: Now I know how to get a black tongue. Eat 30 feet of Nettles. Thanks.
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