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High style of a maple flower

 
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rjlittlefield
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Joined: 01 Aug 2006
Posts: 17421
Location: Richland, Washington State, USA

PostPosted: Thu Mar 19, 2009 4:28 pm    Post subject: High style of a maple flower Reply with quote



"In the Spring, a young man's fancy turns to thoughts of...umm..."

Tell me again, what did you say that thing was?!

Well, it's an object of lust, of course! With a bit of anthropomorphism, and only if you happen to be maple pollen. Wink

This is in fact the end of one style of a maple flower, shot very "up close and personal".

You can see a whole flower HERE.

What you're looking at in the image above is less than 1 mm of the very tip of one of those brush-like styles curving up from the flower.

Pretty bizarre structure, eh?

I'm intrigued by those alternating clear and red sections that we can see in the silhouetted fingers. (There must be a technical term for those things. Anybody know what it is?)

From this one picture, it looks like the red and clear might be some sort of immiscible fluids. But I tried watching at 200X whilst I squashed a style between two microscope slides, and it seemed that while there are red and clear fluids, they are completely miscible and are kept separated by some sort of membrane. I have no idea what the red is or what purpose it might serve.

Hope you find this interesting, and I will greatly appreciate any other info you can add!

--Rik

Technical Details: Canon 300D camera, Nikon CF N Plan Achro 10X NA 0.30 objective at 15.6X, 250 mm away from the sensor. Electronic flash, 83 frames in 0.030" (0.00036" average step). Subject size as shown, 0.95 mm square. Stacked with Zerene Stacker, PMax and DMap combined by retouching.

Edit: to mention Zerene Stacker, which had not gone public at the time this post was originally made.


Last edited by rjlittlefield on Wed Sep 02, 2009 11:14 am; edited 1 time in total
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Bruce Williams



Joined: 30 Oct 2006
Posts: 1120
Location: Northamptonshire, England

PostPosted: Thu Mar 19, 2009 5:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You've done a great job with this subject Rik. I would never have guessed what it was - you've produced something extraordinary from something relatively ordinary.

Bruce Very Happy
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lauriek
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Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 2404
Location: South East UK

PostPosted: Thu Mar 19, 2009 5:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Looks like some sort of chewy sweet to me! Fantastic!

Is that orangey vertical thing sticking up one of the red/clear tubes which has dried up? Or is it a sort of mini 'stem' structure to this part of the flower?
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rjlittlefield
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Joined: 01 Aug 2006
Posts: 17421
Location: Richland, Washington State, USA

PostPosted: Thu Mar 19, 2009 6:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Bruce -- yes, these maple flowers look completely different up close than you'd expect them to!

Laurie, perhaps you're imagining an accretion of gummy worms?

About that orange thing, I'm not completely sure, but I think it's a bit of debris stuck to the backside of the style. I don't see any consistent structure like that at the style tips, but lots of the styles have similar looking fibers at various places. With some care, they can be teased away. I don't know what they are. They look somewhat like hairs from the bracts that surround the flower clusters. I didn't try to clean the styles before shooting them, just shopped around for a section that was oriented to make a decent composition.

You know, I just realized that I've been writing "style" and I actually meant "stigma" -- the receptive part of the pistil. Embarassed

Oh well, I'll let the mistake stand. Not sure what I'd do with "stigma" in a title, anyway. Rolling Eyes

--Rik
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Graham46



Joined: 18 Dec 2008
Posts: 132
Location: Harford County, MD

PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2009 6:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Beautiful image Rik! Very interesting flower, and Im very impressed at the result of the stack
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Aynia



Joined: 01 May 2008
Posts: 724
Location: Europe somewhere

PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2009 7:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Highly unusual. .. and great first pic too (missed that one before).

Fantastic stuff. Very Happy
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Cyclops



Joined: 05 Aug 2006
Posts: 2931
Location: North East of England

PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2009 11:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excellent shot Rik!
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lauriek
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Joined: 25 Nov 2007
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2009 12:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gummy worms, that was exactly what I was thinking! They can stick together in a lump like that if I remember correctly...

Shame Ken doesn't make it over here much, bet he'd like those! Smile
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Cyclops



Joined: 05 Aug 2006
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 21, 2009 11:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mmmmmmmmmmmm, Gummy Worms!! Wink
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Planapo



Joined: 07 Nov 2006
Posts: 1533
Location: Germany, in the United States of Europe

PostPosted: Mon Mar 23, 2009 5:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very interesting and well documented, Rik!

Quote:
I'm intrigued by those alternating clear and red sections that we can see in the silhouetted fingers. (There must be a technical term for those things. Anybody know what it is?)

I know of the term "papillate stigma" that is in use. I'd presume, that your maple flower here has such one.
So, I think you could call these gummy-worm-like structures papillae (sing. papilla).

--Betty
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Cyclops



Joined: 05 Aug 2006
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 23, 2009 6:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Planapo wrote:

So, I think you could call these gummy-worm-like structures papillae (sing. papilla).

--Betty

Papilla,oh papilla we love you sooo...
(You said sing papilla!Wink)
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rjlittlefield
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Joined: 01 Aug 2006
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Location: Richland, Washington State, USA

PostPosted: Mon Mar 23, 2009 7:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cyclops wrote:

Papilla,oh papilla we love you sooo...
(You said sing papilla!Wink)

Brick wall Very Happy
Planapo wrote:

So, I think you could call these gummy-worm-like structures papillae (sing. papilla).

--Betty

Thanks, Betty! That sounds like some word I knew a long time ago but couldn't remember. (Too many words, too many words...! Rolling Eyes )

Any ideas about the red fluid?

--Rik
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Planapo



Joined: 07 Nov 2006
Posts: 1533
Location: Germany, in the United States of Europe

PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2009 12:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rik wrote:
Quote:
Any ideas about the red fluid?


Not really, but I've found this article which could contain some further information:
http://www.springerlink.com/content/q535283588427511/?p=d2ee5660868b4889a7c8266c2eebf4d5&pi=2

(As it is an older article, I first have to check if it is as hard copy in our library, and hence can't look into the pdf right now.)

--Betty
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