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Birch Pollen: photographs illustrate pollen from the River Birch or Betula nigra L. and proceed in scale from the entire tree to its leaves and wind borne pollen flowers to microscopic examination of individual pollen grains for their identifying features. Ending at 1200x magnification of River Birch - Betua nigra pollen itself we show the identifying features of this beautiful pollen.
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The River Birch or Betua nigra genus and species, a member of the Betulacae family, a perennial tree with beautiful papery bark (photo at left). The Betula nigra is an incredibly prolific producer of pollen in the spring, typically during May.
Click any InspectApedia image to see an enlarged, detailed version.
The River Birch is an anemophilous plant - its pollen is spread by wind. This feature is quite evident in our photographs as its dangling pollen 9 cm. long pollen producing structure we show is out there suspended in the breeze, appearing before the tree has fully produced its leave.
This photograph [above] taken in the spring of 2013 is a tree that we planted as a tiny sapling in 1999.
Here is a series of closer looks at the River Birch and its pollen.
Using the macro close-up facility of a Nikon Coolpix 4500 (MICROSCOPE CAMERA SELECTION) we've zoomed in on the pollen-producing components of the River Birch. More about these photographic methods can be read at MICROSCOPE DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY.
It is interesting to note that the leaf, anther and other components of this anemophilous plant were very sticky on the day we collected these flower and pollen samples. The River Birch was not quite ready to release its pollen. When it is, that stickiness diminishes and in the slightest breeze the air will be filled with its pollen.
Still under the stereo microscope a magnified view of these pollen producing structures shows pollen grains adhered to just about every surface of the anther and the surrounding flower parts and petals.
At the magnification below, also taken using our stereo microscope, we begin to see individual pollen grains (below left). At below right under the transmitted light microscope we see the River Birch or Betua nigra pollen in its dry natural form as collected, before applying any mounting media or stain. I like to see how the pollen is shaped before it has been puffed up by natural moisture (rain or mist) or by lab means such as Calberla's solution.
The photograph at below left shows our Betua nigra pollen sample collected from the flower using adhesive tape and mounted in lacto phenol with a dash of cotton blue stain. I like to use this mountant rather than Calberla's to slow the rate of absorption and swelling of the pollen grains.
At above right I've magnified the Betua nigra pollen to 1200x under the transmitted-light microscope. The identifying features of this pollen are quite apparent and closely resemble the microscopic features other Betula species as well.
(Other images are available on request.)
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