Life in Newburgh on Ythan

By Talpa

A morning at the microscope

The heavens are fully open this morning; a day for some more microscopy. This time I have dipped into a box of plant slides dating back to Queen Victoria's reign.

This is a thin cross section through the root of an ancient plant, the adder's tongue fern Ophioglossum vulgatum. You can see several vascular bundles embedded in the general matrix. These are composed of xylem and phloem vessels, the plumbing system of the plant.

This fern is well known for the remarkable number of chromosomes that it possesses - 1260 per cell. We human apes get by with 46!

Traditionally the leaves and rhizomes of the fern were used as poultice, known as the "green oil of charity" for the treatment of wounds. A tea made from the leaves was used as a traditional European folk remedy for internal bleeding and vomiting. 

Sign in or get an account to comment.