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Helical Tracheary Elements

 
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Walter Piorkowski



Joined: 14 Aug 2006
Posts: 681
Location: South Beloit, Ill

PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2018 9:00 pm    Post subject: Helical Tracheary Elements Reply with quote



Image 1 - Longitudinal section view of an amaryllis leaf showing helical tracheal elements passing from upper left to lower right diagonally. To the upper right are vacuoles that contain what I believe to be chloroplasts bunching up to one side.



Image 2 - Longitudinal section view of an amaryllis leaf showing helical tracheal elements. Sloppy work in cutting has ruptured one of the tracheids causing it’s helical wall thickenings to spill out.



Image 3 - Longitudinal section view of an amaryllis leaf showing a more flattened view of the helical tracheal elements. This view shows a interesting feature of the elements. From left to right, the tightness or compression of the helix coil is seen to increase a little more on each tracheid. At the top of the image, all six of the elements can be seen. Two partially.



Image 4 - Transverse section view of an amaryllis leaf showing the severed ends of six tracheal elements. Look for the six complete circles left and below center.



Image 5 - Transverse section view of an amaryllis leaf showing the severed ends of six tracheal elements. The torn cut at the location of the termination point has caused the helical coils to spill out onto the surface. Above center.

Helical Tracheary Elements

I have no formal education in botany, but it doesn't stop me from putting a plant under the microscope. In a recent study of a amaryllis leaf I ran across something I had read about in a text book on plant biology. I had taken the bold move of making a longitudinal section of the leaf and was delighted to find some spring coil like features. These turned out to be tracheary elements or tracheids. Tracheary elements are the conducting cells of the plant xylem and carry water and minerals up through the plant. They can even provide support for stems as they are rigid thanks to the lignin in their walls.

I have labeled the tracheids in my images as having helical wall thickenings, but they can also be annular, scalariform, and pitted in construction. All forms I look forward to seeing in the future.

Image three is a real puzzle to me regarding the different coil compression factors. Even more interesting is how they tighten, left to right. Some readings on the subject say that the loose coil on the left shows an immature tracheid. The one to the far right a mature one. Other readings explain the difference as an amount of stretching due to growth, yet they are side by side? They are bunches of six as far as I have seen. Whatever the reason, its been a learning experience I wanted to share.

Walt

Leitz Ortholux, Canon 50D,
Leitz UO 50x Apo., Horizontal F.O.V. approx. 200 microns on all images.
Zerene Stacker, PhotoShop
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Sumguy01



Joined: 28 Jan 2013
Posts: 1052
Location: Ketchikan Alaska USA

PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2018 8:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very Happy Interesting.
Thanks for sharing.
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Roel Wijtmans



Joined: 23 Nov 2016
Posts: 26
Location: Sweden

PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2018 2:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very interesting! I recently bought my first microscope and I am testing all kinds of subjects like a madman. One of those test subjects was a bit of a banana peel, and there I found structures very similar to yours as you can see below. They became very clear in cross-polarized light. Here you can also see the different coil compression factors as you found in your sample. Interesting stuff, thanks for the info!

10x for the first picture (I believe), 40x for the other two, all with cross-polarized light.



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GaryB



Joined: 29 Jul 2016
Posts: 502

PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2018 3:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very nice!
Who knew bananas were so 'springy'
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Walter Piorkowski



Joined: 14 Aug 2006
Posts: 681
Location: South Beloit, Ill

PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2018 9:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello Sumguy, Roel and Gary. Thanks for showing your interest.
Welcome Roel and thank you for adding to my post. I didn't think about these tracheary elements extending all the way into the fruit of a plant, but then how else would bananas be so juicy! I will have to try polarized light the next time. It would make sense that your images show up the spirals. They are made of lignin which I have read respond to infrared and polarization.
Walt
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razashaikh



Joined: 14 Nov 2017
Posts: 103
Location: India

PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2018 10:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very nicely captured shots.
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Walter Piorkowski



Joined: 14 Aug 2006
Posts: 681
Location: South Beloit, Ill

PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2018 2:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you Razashaikh. Walt
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