Surprise!

Surprise! Is this the work of a botanical minded Edvard Munch perhaps, companion to The Scream? Actually, this “honorable mention” in the Olympus BioScapes 2011 competition is a section of a bamboo stem, showing the conduits that are analogous to our arteries and veins.

Botany lesson of the Day: The larger openings are xylem, that ferry water and dissolved minerals upwards from the root and the smaller openings are phloem that distribute sugars and plant hormones from the leaves to other parts of the plant.

More at: http://www.olympusbioscapes.com/gallery/2011/

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22 Responses to Surprise!

  1. Rich Pollett says:


    Truly a beautiful image. Thanks! 🙂


  2. I actually thought of Homer Sipmson first… d’oh!

  3. Rajini Rao says:


    Jim Richardson , I noticed that you said dreams, not nightmares 😛 I don’t know if it is beautiful as much as funny, given how we anthropomorphize everything 🙂

  4. Scott LaVie says:


    Cool! That is awesome!


  5. One day, when I get rid of my cat allergies and get myself a pair of felines, I will name them xylem and phloem :]


  6. hahaha, that’s hysterical! I think strange, off-the-wall names are appropriate for pets (thought I draw the line at STDs), but kids not so much. Julian’s dad wanted to name him Mudman (still baffles me to this day), but instead he got stuck with Julian Reinier, which was supposed to be after the mountain but is misspelled (just like that) on his birth certificate lol

  7. Rajini Rao says:


    They are packaged cell fibers, Drew Sowersby ..I believe they are dead cells. I’ll have to take your word on Zelda…my 13 yr old doesn’t play it (he’s my expert source for all gaming info) 🙂

  8. Rajini Rao says:


    Be a sport, José P. Llongueras ! Off-the-wall names build character.

  9. Rickie B says:


    Botany – the final frontier – to boldly go where no human has gone before Rajini? Actually like the problems of volcanoes blowing away our summers this next year, so too the botany world is going through enormous adjustment, as humans begin to slowly slowly realise that there is something out there that is a hometree in Avatar, called our shared derived genetic memory with plants and trees, true? Do we need these children planting trees again this next year? Or is it a new consciousness that we needed to plant in us even 20 years ago? Rsj

  10. Rajini Rao says:


    I go everywhere, R-j Barrett 😉 I have a particular affinity for the plant kingdom…I majored in botany a long time ago and I am an avid gardener. Plants have, and will outlive us, I believe. If living things had souls, plants deserve them most. As Joyce Kilmer said, “I think I shall never see/ A poem lovely as a Tree”.


  11. * having a biology class flashback * Now that I think about it, bio was fascinating. I chose a different field because of I didn’t like the dissection of animals. Maybe I should investigate this and find a sub field which doesn’t involve dissection of animals/humans to study in my spare time.

  12. Rajini Rao says:


    Shah Auckburaully , I’m a total wimp when it comes to animal studies (I leave it to stout hearted students and postdocs in my lab). Most of my hands on work was done with cells in culture or with microorganisms (bacteria and yeast). There’s plenty to do without animal work in biomedical research!


  13. Rajini Rao Just wondering – how long would it take for someone who knows nothing to obtain a least a Masters in your field? Assume that the person is very interested, and has plenty of free time on his hand.

  14. Rajini Rao says:


    At a minimum you could take courses in genetics, cell biology and biochemistry at the graduate or undergraduate level. It would not be too hard for anyone with a logical bend of mind, IMO. The fun part would be in lab, where one could set up PCR reactions, prep DNA or measure an enzyme activity. If this hypothetical person enjoyed lab, the next step would be to volunteer/intern in a real lab where one could actually contribute to an ongoing project. I would say two years, with part time courses, but I’m not sure what the requirements are in the UK. In the US, Universities typically do not offer Master’s degrees in academic specialties (but they do for Biotech/Population Bio/Public Health..the more commercial streams).


  15. Cool! Thanks. This is way better and more interesting than social sciences. I miss academia (esp. the conferences – I still get to go but I don’t write enough these days). Thank you 🙂

  16. Liz Krane says:


    Oh my, that is gorgeous! It reminds me of Lite-Brite. Anyone else ever play with that as a kid? hehe

  17. Yohan Wadia says:


    looks like my math teacher bach in schooling days!!

  18. Abel Uriol says:


    Muy buena imagen.. se merece un 10 en Natur-Art.. me recuerda al Simpson.. 😉

  19. Rajini Rao says:


    Liz Krane and Shinae Nae , actually had to google Lite Brite…guess my kids were deprived of them (one less thing to step on in the dark?). Love all the interpretations..Bozo the clown, Simpson and even a hapless math teacher 🙂

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