Friday, July 27, 2012

Lantana montevidensis

On my way the administration building I came across what my wife and I call butterfly weed.  My online research reveals it to be Lantana montevidensis (at least that is what I think it is).

It turns out that it is not a butterfly weed at all - that will teach me to use a common name - especially one I make up.

I reach down and cut off a sprig with my pocket knife and head back to the lab, then return with my camera to get a few pictures

It may not be a butterfly weed, but butterflies sure like it. 
This swallowtail came for visit while I was taking pictures.

Next it is on to our dissecting scope for a closer look.

Nice long tubular flowers - made for butterflies, and butterflies made for it!

 Butterflies aren't the only insects that like this plant.  On this close up you can see a small insect in the picture.  I was lucky to catch him - the capture rate on the camera is pretty slow.  By the time I could take a picture he would scurry away. (The colors you see on the insect here are because of chromatic abberation - very pretty though.)

Finally got him.  True colors this time.  I don't know his genus and species, but he is definitely a hemipteran or true bug.

 Flower head straight on.  Notice the small hairs just inside the tube. 
You will see these again on the scanning electron micrographs.

 Yet another resident on this flower living inside the tube of the flower.

 Here is a leaf from plant - just for the record.

On to the SEM.  I didn't collect and image the insects.  I actually work backwards - SEM first, then camera and dissecting scope.  I didnt' even know the insects were there until these images were made.  I wouldn't have collected the butterfly anyway - it is hard to kill something that beautiful.

 For this image I split the flower open. 
You can see the layer of hairs just inside of the tube and farther down are 4 stamen. [13x]

 In this image you can see the stamen, another field of hairs, and then the stigma.  [25x]

 Stamen [55x]

A close look at the cells that make up the tube of the flower. 
This is a close up of the section seen on the right hand side of the image above. 
At the bottom is one of the "hairs" inside the tube. [691x]

Cells of the stamen.  Where is the pollen?  [150x]

 Make up of a petal - the part in focus is the outside of the petal folded back on itself [101x]

Close up of cells that make up the petals.  [470x]

 Upper surface of leaf [60x]

Closer look at upper surface of a leaf [250x]. 
I simply cannot believe how alien this appears.

 Bottom leaf surface. 
The tree-like structure running left to right is the midrib.  Stomata are visible.
The globular structures must be glands that contain aromatic liquids. [150x]

 Bottom leaf surface [250x]

Stomata on bottom of leaf [800x]
Distance between marks on scale = 5 microns

I welcome you comments on this posting.

If you are interested in using the SEMs at Eastfield or would like for me to bring the portable SEM to your school, please contact me. 
Eastfield is dedicated to the support of research in the STEM fields by students and faculty at all levels.

Murry Gans
Scanning Electron Microscope Lab Coordinator
Eastfield College

It All Begins Here!


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