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Image of the Week: Venus Flytrap Pollen

25 Oct, 2013

B0009430 Venus flytrap pollen grains, SEM

As a young child, the idea of a carnivorous plant filled me with wonder. The plants’ individual traps are time- and touch-sensitive, snapping shut to imprison their lunch. The image above is not the hapless prey of the Venus flytrap, but actually reveals a different aspect of the plant – its pollen.

Although hated by many hay-fever sufferers, pollen grains have a hidden beauty, which comes to light with the use of specialist microscopes. This image is a false-coloured scanning electron micrograph of pollen grains from a venus flytrap (Dionaea muscipula).

The pollen grains contain the male gamete and are produced in the anther. They are transferred from one flower to another (pollination) so that fertilisation of the female gametes can occur.

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