Thursday, 21 January 2016

First Hazel

I had a look around the Merthyr Tunnel area yesterday and amongst other things, found dome Hazel catkins already shedding pollen, so I whipped out a moth pot and shook some of the pollen into it. Pollen is funny old stuff and viewing it with a microscope is a bit of a palaver. There is a coating of oil on the surface of the grains which has to be removed using alchohol and then they have to be hydrated, to their nice plump best.
That done, they look like this.

Hazel Pollen. Unstained. x400

However, the best way to view them is stained with Basic Fuchsin, which makes them look like this and any detail easier to see.

Stained with Basic Fuchsin. x400

Each division of the scale equals 2.50 microns (1 micron is 1/1000th of a millimetre.

Anyone know how to get Fuchsin stains of one's fingers? Must remember to wear gloves next time!

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