Image of the month

Nettle leaf

This month's image was taken by [work experience student] Sam Anderson from Forest School, Wokingham, using EMLab's Stereoscan S360 scanning electron microscope. It shows a stinging hair on the surface of a nettle leaf. These hollow hairs are made of calcium carbonate and silica. When one of the hairs comes into contact with skin, the tip breaks of, resulting in the injection of a toxins such as oxalic or tartaric acid and causing acute pain. This acts as a highly effective protection against predators.

Things to do now

Read our news

Page navigation

 

Search Form

A-Z lists