Let's Make Micrographs!

I put native Australian flowers and insects under the microscope, literally.
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Flower from Rosmarinus officinalis (Lamiaceae), or rosemary. Penrith, Sydney.  The family Lamiaceae is probably my favourite because they’re easy to spot (flower spikes, woody shrubs) and the flowers themselves look just great. They have a bi-symmetry that reminds me of pea flowers. I’ve only photographed the pea family once so far, but there will be lots lots more of them in 2015.

Flower from Rosmarinus officinalis (Lamiaceae), or rosemary. The family Lamiaceae is probably my favourite because they’re easy to spot (flower spikes, woody shrubs) and the flowers.

Philotheca salsolifolia (Rutaceae) and the  filaments that surround its anthers. Agnes Banks Nature Reserve, Hawkesbury.

Philotheca salsolifolia (Rutaceae) and the filaments that surround its anthers.

Pimelea sp. (Thymelaeaceae), the smooth rice flower. Possibly P. glauca or P. linifolia. Agnes Banks Nature Reserve, Hawkesbury.  The conservation status of this plant is sort of strange: in Rare Bushland Plants of Western Sydney 2nd ed. (James, McDougall & Benson 1999), they list it alongside Pimelea spicata, which is endangered. However, the same organisation that published the book (The Royal Botanical Gardens Sydney) now lists Pimelea glauca as widespread.

Pimelea glauca (Thymelaeaceae), the smooth rice flower. The conservation status of this plant is sort of strange: in Rare Bushland Plants of Western Sydney

Conospermum taxifolium (Proteaceae). Agnes Banks Nature Reserve, Hawkesbury, Australia.  I love the little flowers, they’re like hands with a thumb downturned: “Gimme a scotch, three fingers! :[ “

I love the little flowers, they’re like hands with a thumb downturned: “Gimme a scotch, three fingers!

The filaments and anthers of Callistemon citrinus (Myrtaceae). The whole genus is commonly called the bottlebrush; the reason is obvious if you look at the whole flower spike. Look at those crazy...

The filaments and anthers of Callistemon citrinus (Myrtaceae). The whole genus is commonly called the bottlebrush; the reason is obvious if you look at the whole flower spike. Look at those crazy.

Gotta have a native Australian plant for Australia Day, so here’s a close-up of the individual florets of Grevillea banksii (Proteaceae). These come bunched on racemes, stalks bearing mostly flowers,...

Gotta have a native Australian plant for Australia Day, so here’s a close-up of the individual florets of Grevillea banksii (Proteaceae). These come bunched on racemes, stalks bearing mostly flowers,.

The anthers and stigma of Oenothera (prev. Gaura) lindheimeri (Onagraceae), a US-native exotic. It’s a water-wise plant, recommended for growing in Australian gardens. There’s something about it that...

The anthers and stigma of Oenothera (prev. Gaura) lindheimeri (Onagraceae), a US-native exotic. It’s a water-wise plant, recommended for growing in Australian gardens.

Went back to uni today to start on my PhD! This didn't leave me much time for micrographs, but I found this exotic Gilia capitata (Polemoniaceae) in my front yard and brought it in. I love the anthers (so wedgy! all blue!) and It was completely crawling with tiny insects, and it's just super cute.

Went back to uni today to start on my PhD! This didn’t leave me much time for micrographs, but I found this exotic Gilia capitata (Polemoniaceae) in my front yard and brought it in. I love the anthers.

Don’t mind me, I’m just experimenting with different lighting setups! Normally I use the built-in lights on my stereo-microscope — the Leica EZ4 has a great four-position lighting rig that shines light from different angles to produce or remove shadows — but I’ve long used little keychain flashlights to add light or shadow where the built-in lights can’t.

Don’t mind me, I’m just experimenting with different lighting setups! Normally I use the built-in lights on my stereo-microscope — the Leica has a great four-position lighting rig that shines.

Buds from Rosmarinus officinalis (Lamiaceae), the herb rosemary.  The beads of moisture are strongly aromatic but can’t be rubbed off. I assume it’s a defense against insect herbivores.

Buds from Rosmarinus officinalis (Lamiaceae), the herb rosemary. The beads of moisture are strongly aromatic but can’t be rubbed off. I assume it’s a defense against insect herbivores.

Facial detail of a live moth, hatched from the seeds of an Acacia plant after 20 days.  This is the moth whose dust I showed you on Monday. Look at that super cool proboscis and the cute puff of scales on its head, aww!

Facial detail of a live moth, hatched from the seeds of an Acacia plant after 20 days. This is the moth whose dust I showed you on Monday. Look at that super cool proboscis and the cute puff of scales on its head, aww!

This is the dust that comes from the wings of a moth, made of scales from the wings and body.  This moth hatched out of the seeds of an Acacia species collected from Springwood, Sydney, and I have more of it to show you!

This is the dust that comes from the wings of a moth, made of scales from the wings and body. This moth hatched out of the seeds of an Acacia species collected from Springwood, Sydney, and I have more.

A floral spray from a Melaleuca species, probably Melaleuca linariifolia (Myrtaceae). Hawkesbury, Sydney.  These trees are commonly planted on roadsides and in parks and their profuse flowering, presenting as a carpet of white on one side of the canopy, is spectacular to behold amidst the usual dull green and brown of an Australian summer.

A floral spray from a Melaleuca species, probably Melaleuca linariifolia (Myrtaceae). These trees are commonly planted on roadsides and in parks and their profuse flowering,.

A woodlouse! Here called a slater or pill bug or roly poly. Penrith, Sydney.  These are actually not insects at all, insects being characterised by “three pairs of legs, one pair of antennae, generally three obvious body divisions, and by being the only arthropods to possess wings.” (Zborowski & Storey 2010, A Field Guide to Insects in Australia 3rd edition, ISBN 9781877069659)

A woodlouse! Here called a slater or pill bug or roly poly. These are actually not insects at all, insects being characterised by “three pairs of legs, one pair of antennae, generally.

Lagerstroemia indica (Lythraceae), the Crepe Myrtle. Hawkesbury, Sydney.  Extremely common street tree in hotter parts of the world, it forms an incredible-looking flower.

Lagerstroemia indica (Lythraceae), the Crepe Myrtle. Extremely common street tree in hotter parts of the world, it forms an incredible-looking flower.

Fruticose lichen, Castlereagh Nature Reserve. The dark spots are apothecia (fruiting bodies).

The dark spots are apothecia (fruiting bodies).

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