viewing cells

Holly Gorton hlgorton at
Mon Oct 2 10:21:03 EST 2000

CAM plants are famous for big cells.  I don't have a 5X lens handy, but I just sliced open a few different succlents from our greenhouse and was able to see (barely) cells with a 1.5 X lens in several of them.  They might be acceptable for a class w/ a 5X lens.

H. Gorton

>>> "STARIA S. VANDERPOOL" <svand at> - 10/2/00 11:10 AM >>>
You might also try watermelon.  Those cells are juice filled, but 
single cells (as I recall) and fairly large.  I don't think you can 
see subcellular details without something more than a 5X. 
Staria Vanderpool

> From:          Kathleen.Archer at (Kathleen Archer)
> Subject:       viewing cells
> Date:          2 Oct 2000 15:56:59 +0100
> Organization:  BIOSCI/MRC Human Genome Mapping Project Resource Centre
> X-To:          plant-ed at
> To:            plant-ed at

> Dear Folks,
> Reading Gini's posting about pepper cells reminded me about my attempts to
> show cells in the lecture room.  I received a number of suggestions from
> the Plant Ed group, most of which I posted.  I can report that I tried most
> of them, and found they all came up lacking.
> 1.  The interior of green pepper fruit seemed like the most promising,
> since one doesn't even need a hand lens to see these bulging shapes on the
> inside of the pepper.  However, when I looked at these more closely using
> the dissecting scope, followed by the compound scope, I discovered that
> what appear to be cells are really places where the surface cell layer has
> come away from the tissue below, and the spaced so created has filled with
> water or juice.  The layer that bulges out appears to my eye to be
> comprised of small epidermal-type cells.  So what looks a great deal like
> large cells, are, I think, not truly cells at all.  Having discovered that
> I couldn't bring myself to fudge it with my non-majors.
> 2. Ring-porous twigs, such as oak.  I tried this - went out and cut oak
> twigs and looked at them with my 5X handlens.  Could not see a vessel to
> save my life.  I took my research student with me and he could not see
> anything either.  Perhaps a higher mag lens would work, but not 5X.  
> 3. Orange fruit segments.  Didn't want to create a mess, plus there was
> posted some concerns about whether they really represented single cells or
> not.
> 4. Someone else suggested the wooden spoons you get with ice cream cups.
> Got hold of some, looked with my hand lens - lots of streaks due to rays
> and I can probably use them for discussing wood structure, but no visible
> vessels or cells of any kind.
> I gave up trying to have my students really see cells with just an
> inexpensive hand lens.  Since half my lenses walk out the room every time
> we do something like this, I really can't afford a higher mag.  So I'm
> still searching and welcome any additional ideas that fit these criteria:
> 1. Must be visible with a 5X hand lens.
> 2. Must really be a cell.
> Thanks,
> Kathleen Archer
> ---
Staria S. Vanderpool, Ph.D.
Asst. Prof. of Botany
Dept. of Biological Sciences
P.O. Box 599
Arkansas State University
State University AR 72467
Phone:  870 972 3082
FAX:    870 972 2638 



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