Coloured SEM of pollen grains from the common ragweed, (Ambrosia artemisiifolia), covered in fine dust. The grains have a spiked outer wall (exine), which may assist in their dispersal by improving their adherence to pollinating insects. The characteristic surface of pollen grains is used by botanists to recognise and classify plants. Each pollen grain contains a male gamete (reproductive cell) that is intended to fertilise an egg or ovule (female gamete), and initiate the formation of a seed for a new plant. These pollen grains are an allergen that may cause hay fever in susceptible individuals. Magnification x2800 when printed at 10 centimetres wide.
July 15th, 2014
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