Leaf of a Candlestick Tree (Senna alata), magn…

Leaf of a Candlestick Tree (Senna alata), magnified 3900x, viewed with a scanning electron microscope. 

The leaf dried up a long time ago, and I’d been meaning to take a look at it. The leaves are superhydrophobic, meaning water beads up into a perfect ball and just rolls right off of them. This often happens when plants have nano-scale structures on the leaves which mess around with the surface tension of the water, and it creates a self-cleaning surface. This is more well known in the lotus. I’m guessing that’s what all those texturey bits in here are, despite how shriveled the leaf was! When they are more hydrated, they might look like tiny little fingers. You can also see the stoma despite this poor leaf being all dry and dead.

December 6, 2018