Aster seed. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of a seed from an aster flower (Aster sp.). The structures seen here are the cypsela (lower frame) and a large pappus (upper frame). The pappus aids in wind dispersal. The cypsela is a type of achene, a specialised dry fruit, and the actual seed is inside the cypsela. A seed contains an embryo (a fertilised ovule from which a new plant can grow), and a supply of food. Seed dispersal methods include being carried by the wind, or water or on animal coats, or being eaten and deposited in animal droppings. Aster flowers are mostly native to Eurasia, and are a popular garden plant. Magnification x420 when printed 10 centimetres tall.
Science Photo Library was founded in 1981 by Michael Marten, one of the authors of "Worlds Within Worlds", a book exploring different ways to observe the universe - from electron micrographs, to images of earthrise taken from the Apollo spacecraft. When Marten started receiving requests for the beautiful images in the book, he had an idea of setting up Science Photo Library.
Since then, Science Photo Library has continued to work alongside world acclaimed photographers and the leading science and medical experts to provide a central source of the best science and specialist imagery available. Although the collection started with scientific images, it has grown to encompass all aspects of science and their impact on everyday life.
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