The invisible beauty of flowers:
Graphic designer turned artist Susumu Nishinaga has used an electron microscope to delve deep into the fabric of petal, leaves and pollen. The Japanese artist then colours the scanning electron micrograph (SEM) images using a computer - to reveal the building blocks of life
1. The pistil (orange) is surrounded by the stamens (pink) of a Buttercup flower (Ranunculus sp.)
2. Flowers of the ladies’ tresses orchid (Spiranthes sp.).
3. Part of the stigma (pink) of an Easter cactus flower (Rhipsalidopsis gaertneri). This is the top part of the female reproductive structure (carpel) of the flower. Pollen grains containing the male sex cells land on the stigma and may move down the style (not seen) into the ovary (not seen)
4. The surface of a pansy (Viola tricolor) petal. The petal is covered in tiny epidermal hairs (cone-shaped objects) known as trichomes
5. Pollen on the stigma of a sunflower plant (Helianthus sp.). The stigma, part of the flower’s female reproductive structure, is curled over here, with pollen grains (spiky orange balls) adhering to the yellow trichomes (hairs) on its underside
6. Pollen grains (small balls, lower centre) on the pistil of a Hibiscus sp. flower
7. The surface of a petal from a rape (Brassica napus) flower. The projections are papillae, lumps that help to reduce water loss from the petal
8.The stamens of an apricot (Prunus armeniaca) flower. A stamen, the male reproductive organ, consists of a filament (green) with an anther (red) at its tip.
9. The pistils (purple, female reproductive organs) emerging from the true flowers or florets (yellow) of a whiteweed plant (Ageratum sp.)
10. A cluster of fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) flowers
Because it’s not enough to know that flowers are beautiful on the surface, here’s additional evidence that they’re also beautiful at the microscopic level. ~AR