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Illinois IGB


Art of Science Gallery 02

Floral Fingerprints
Zeiss Apotome, Zeiss LSM 710 NLO

Image provided by Luke Mander, Surangi Punyasena Lab

Research funded by the National Science Foundation

In this image, pollen grains from Croton hirtus (rushfoil), Mabea occidentalis (Mabea) and Agropyron repens (quackgrass) provide a glimpse of the extraordinary morphological variety of pollen. Their shapes and surface textures were revealed using cutting-edge fluorescence microscopy at the IGB. The shape of pollen grains from different plants can be so distinct that pollen identification based on structure has been used in forensic investigations, archaeological studies, and to confirm the purity of monofloral honeys.