Dr. Stephen Lowry
University of Ulster
Portstewart, Co. Londonderry, UK
"Spiral vessels," Lowry told DISCOVER, "are found in most flowering plants. They may be concerned with water or air movement within the plant, but information about their exact function is still vague. Victorian microscopists were particularly keen on observing spiral vessels from rhubarb, but I think that this less common example of a spiral vessel from banana stem is more attractive."
Lowry recently put together an exhibition
of images produced from Victorian microscope slides using polarized light microscopy. He used that same technique to produce this image of a banana plant's spiral vessels. He likes this image, he says, because "it successfully captured the 3-dimentional structure of the vessel, which looks like a ribbon wrapped around an invisible pole."