Foldscopy of water hyacinth growing in my village in Punjab

  • Ajay Prakash

Water hyacinth is a common nuisance of the ponds in my village. It is a fast growing, free floating, aquatic plant, invading entire ponds and pools of the village. The leaves have spongy and bulbous stalks which float above the surface of water.  An erect stalk supporting a single spike of 8-10 attractive flowers having six petals can be seen. One of the ‘petal’ lobes has a yellow spot surrounded by a darker blue or purplish area and six stamens.

The petal showing yellow spot surrounded by bluish and purple region

There are three long stamens that are easily visible that is longer than the pistil. Three shorter stamens are found deeper within the corolla. Foldscope enabled the view of glandular structures on the longer stamens as well as the tiny capitate stigma. However, these could not be seen in the filaments of smaller stamens so clearly.

 

The long stamens and the pistil showing capitate stigma 

Glandular structures on filaments a nd stigma as viewed under foldscope

Pollen in anthers of both the type of stamens were almost similar, except for the presence of some extra degenerative cells in anthers of long stamens.

Pollen of anthers on shorter  stamens

Pollen of anthers on longer  stamens

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