I have a small vase of hazel catkins in the kitchen , they look lovely but the surface around them was becoming yellow with a thick dusting of pollen.
I was curious just how much pollen there was so laid them over night on some black card.
As you can see there was plenty of pollen by the morning. Hazel is wind pollinated, however do bees collect the pollen for food if they are active but can only do so in small loads as the pollen grains are not sticky.
Under a light microscope the grains look like this :-
And through a scanning electron microscope :-
Pollen grains can be used to look at habitats historically , preparing soil samples can reveal plant histories from thousands of years ago.
I bought a bunch of beautiful lilies reduced to £2.50,a bargain , they look lovely and smell gorgeous .They also have some stunning stamens heavy with orange pollen.
Plants look fantastic under the microscope , cutting through the anther on a lily reveals the pollen grain factory !
Pollen grains are all unique to plant species and this feature is usedin archeology , forensics and studies of climate.
The pollen of the lily is much different to the hazel .
An even higher magnification shows the amazing structure of the pollen grain wall.
Pollen can cause some people problems with hay fever symptoms but it is rather beautiful on closer inspection , a microscopic masterpiece.