Microscopy

A whole           in a drop.

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Top left : Hollyhock anther with some pollen grains attached.

 

Bottom right : Close up view of individual pollen grains.

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Hollyhocks are a great way to start looking at pollen. The pollen grains are particularly large at around 130um (0.13mm) in diameter, compared to around 30um (0.03mm) or less for many other species.  The grains are spherical and covered in small spikes, which explains why the grains tend to clump together rather than spreading out in a powder, like other types.  The spikes may help the large grains ‘stick’ to any pollinating insects that might pass.

 

Good views of larger pollen grains such as those from Hollyhocks and Pine Trees can be seen at a magnifications of 100-200x, smaller varieties such as Dandelion or Willow need 200-400x.

 

 

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Hollyhock’s giant pollen

Garden Exploration

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