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43 votes
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Are these microscopic star-like structures on a dead leaf some sort of organism? If so, which one?

These are stellate ("star-shaped") [and possibly peltate ("borne on a stalk")] hairs ("trichomes") of the leaf itself. From Harris & Harris's (2001) ""...
theforestecologist's user avatar
38 votes
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What is this unusual structure inside this banana?

It looks like some species of Nigrospora genus took over the inside of that banana. According to Wikipedia, N. sphaerica was first isolated from bananas. The other species that you will find ...
pawelek zzz's user avatar
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14 votes
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Using anatomical terms for human organs and parts of plants

First, for reference, see here for a discussion about the difference in directional terms between bipeds and quadrupeds as well as a fairly complete explanation of word meanings/etymology. The ...
theforestecologist's user avatar
13 votes

Why do plants store energy as carbohydrates and not as fats?

The question was: Why would plants store their energy as carbohydrates and not as fats, if fats are a more efficient energy store? But before trying to answer it you have to be quite clear what is ...
David's user avatar
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13 votes
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Why does spraying water on plants help them survive in case of frost?

The question has already been asked in Physics. According to the information there and here the sprinkling must continue throughout the period when temperatures are below freezing, and is only ...
Alan Boyd's user avatar
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12 votes
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What causes leaves to be hydrophobic?

This is due to presence of a hydrophobic chemical called as cutin present at the the aerial surfaces of plants. Cutin is one of two waxy polymers that are the main components of the plant cuticle, ...
JM97's user avatar
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11 votes

What determines the spiral direction of plants?

tendril coiling occurs via asymmetric contraction of an internal fiber ribbon of specialized cells. Under tension, both extracted fiber ribbons and old tendrils exhibit twistless overwinding rather ...
Bees's user avatar
  • 161
9 votes

What are these bumps on tomato stem?

Those bumps are aerial surface hairs, a type of trichome. They are epidermal outgrowths. Therefore it's vines are of pubescent type. In addition to facilitating better exchange of gases, it also ...
JM97's user avatar
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8 votes
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What’s the Difference Between Grass and Sedge?

Short answer Sedges have edges, and they're in different families. See Minnesota Wildflowers for a great summary with images. Long answer Both are in the order Poales, but they are in different ...
theforestecologist's user avatar
7 votes
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Books for learning how plants function

I wanted to comment because I don't think my answer will be the best, but I can't because of my low reputation... Anyway, here are two suggestions: Plant Physiology and Development, by Lincoln Taiz, ...
justdoit's user avatar
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7 votes
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Are these pineapple seeds starting to germinate?

Is it the structure from where pineapple seeds grow? Yes, these are pineapple ovules, which if properly fertilized would develop into seeds.* The structure they're attached to is the placenta, which ...
Darlingtonia's user avatar
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6 votes
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Strange Exoskeleton Found in Maine: What is It?

It seems to me the ootheca of a mantis before larvae eclosion. You can read more about it here. .jpg
Pablo Marin-Garcia's user avatar
6 votes
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What are the roundish objects in this sketch of a tracheid?

The 'roundish stuffs' you are seeing are called 'pits'. The Dictionary of Botany defines a pit as '[a] cavity in the secondary cell wall, allowing exchange of substances between adjacent cells'. The ...
Epistemonaut's user avatar
5 votes

What is the name of the groove down the middle of an anther?

I think what you are looking for is the connective. Anthers are usually two-lobed and connected by a band of sterile tissue that also connects the anther with the filament - therefore the name, I ...
AlexDeLarge's user avatar
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5 votes
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Why do plants store energy as carbohydrates and not as fats?

There are quite some reasons for why plants prefer carbohydrates for energy storage rather than fats. I will reach some of them one at a time. Fat hates water: By just applying some common sense, one ...
another 'Homo sapien''s user avatar
5 votes
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What predates on cactus in the Atacama desert?

Short answer This type of herbivory is probably from feral livestock, especially donkeys. Long Answer There is video footage of guanacos eating flowers off of cacti in the Atacama. For example, an ...
theforestecologist's user avatar
5 votes
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Is the xylem like a tissue paper?

I'm in year 5 too; and (with a bit of help of my dad) I have some bits of answers (my challenge of the day). A paper tissue is principally made of cellulose. And cellulose is a polar molecule. And ...
Alain Pannetier's user avatar
5 votes
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Xylem in the centre of the root

The is something called the Pressure Stiffening Effect (turn on a coiled garden hose and watch it try and uncoil for instance), pressure in the fluid filled xylem stiffens the root, making it harder ...
John's user avatar
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5 votes
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What did Darwin mean by "degraded flowers"?

Perfect flowers have both male and female parts. "Degraded" isn't used anymore - just "imperfect". "A bisexual (or “perfect”) flower has both stamens and carpels, and a unisexual (or “imperfect”) ...
Polypipe Wrangler's user avatar
5 votes

How are cotyledons able to affect the structure of plants?

Cotyledon is a structure of embryos of seed-bearing plants. During seed germination, cotyledon is raised up above the soil and turns green temporarily. They temporarily carry out photosynthesis for ...
Jazon Leung's user avatar
4 votes
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Identifying three species of Datura

Okay, so as far as the blue and white flower goes I'm pretty sure it's a cultivar of ipomoea called Flying Saucer which is a hybrid of heavenly blue (I. tricolor) and Pearly gates (also I. tricolor) ...
user29734's user avatar
4 votes

Why are the no bioluminescent plants?

Overall, bioluminescence has arisen over forty times in evolutionary history.[25] There are bioluminescent funghi and bacteria. Phosphorus is the 2nd most important nutrient for plants, so perhaps ...
bandybabboon's user avatar
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4 votes
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What's the difference between a simple and 1-foliolate (unifoliolate) leaf?

Short answer: Look for a pulvinus at the leaf-stalk/leaf-lamina junction. Long Answer: So from a strictly anatomical identification standpoint, this can be a bit confusing. According to "Plant ...
theforestecologist's user avatar
3 votes

Why are peas in mendelian genetics different?

You are confounding the concept of dominance with the one of high frequency. The dominant phenotype might be at lower frequency than the recessive phenotype. Dominance Dominance in genetics is a ...
Remi.b's user avatar
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