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IMAGE  Australian Beefwood (Casuarina cunninghamiana)
Cross-section of a stem and seven small leaves (microphylls)
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Under an Ultraviolet [UV] lamp, things fluoresce in different ways. They don’t look the same color as under daylight.  So, ultraviolet light is used ‒ here, under a microscope  to reveal features and differences not seen in visible light.

When examined with the unaided eye, the specimen above appeared to have needles (which it is not supposed to).

Investigating with a UV microscope revealed that instead of a single needle this is a stem with seven small leaves. Not everything is as it appears to our eye.

  • The red fluorescence is from chlorophyll in the very small pentagon shaped leaves.
  • The blue fluorescence is from secondary metabolites in the vascular (central) and epidermal (outer) tissue.

IMAGE: Gregory Johnson and ASU - Ask A Biologist

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