Field of Science

Friday Fabulous Flower - Spiderwort

Several varieties of spiderwort (Tradescantia, named after a botanist of the 1600s) are flowering in our gardens, and they are quite charming, trouble-free plants. Funny how they look more purple to the eye, but always photograph more blue. Anyone know why? The spider part comes from the hairly stamen filaments. Now go get yourself a microscope. Put a few of those hairs on a slide in a drop of water, putting on the cover slip so as not to trap any air bubbles, and have a look. The hairs look like beautiful purple pop beads. Each bead is a cell largely filled with a big vacuole (think water balloon), so the cytoplasm is displaced to the edges and margins of the cell, sometimes looking like strands pressed between the vacuole and the cell wall. This is a good place to see cytoplasmic streaming. And this was the first place a biologist ever saw a nucleus in a cell! Oh, this is a good trivia question! Who was the biologist?

2 comments:

Steve Finnell said...

you are invited to follow my blog

The Phytophactor said...

Thanks, but no thanks Steve. Religion is not my cup of hemlock, and I don't mean the tree.