Crystals in plants

In the cells of most plants, crystals consisting of calcium oxalate are found which are formed by a process called  biomineralisation. It is thought that these crystals act as a storage reservoir for calcium and also provide for the storage of toxic waste (detoxification). The crystals come in a variety of shapes and some are characteristic of certain plant groups.


It is not that often that I look at blood under the microscope. It usually happens when I get injured and have the opportunity to get a microscope. After an unfortunate shave, I act quickly so that I can prepare a slide from the blood before it dries up.


Diatoms are brown microalgae that can be found in all freshwater and marine environments. They are an important link in the ecological cycle. In streams and rivers you often see stones covered with a brown layer that is formed by diatoms.


The reason for writing something about aphids was a Willow Tree in our garden that was infested with these very small insects. Aphids mainly reside on young leaves and stems. With the naked eye there is not much more to see than small, slowly moving oval shapes that are a few mm in size. All the more reason to have a look at them under magnification.