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You are watching: What does grass look like under a microscope

Published30 might 2021

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ContextThis is a genuine image of a cross section of grass leaf under a microscope. No component of the leaf is "smiling" in any type of literal sense, of course, yet the round features known together "vascular bundles" carry out resemble "smiley faces" when viewed native above.


An picture that shows up to present a bunch of small “smiley faces” peering the end at the viewer indigenous under a microscope has been circulating on the internet for years.

In a picture that has been mutual by social media users due to the fact that May 2021, the picture is attach by a caption that reads, “This is what a tongue of grass looks like under a microscope. Next time you take it a walk outside, know that the grass is happy to view you.”

Although we were unable to find the original source of the over image, us did find other microscopic pictures of grass with similar features.

A discussion about the picture cropped increase in 2015 top top the question-and-answer website StackExchange, whereby a user v an anonymous profile pointed to a comparable image on a science stock photograph website the was captioned:

Marram grass leaf. Light micrograph the a cross ar through a close up door (unravelled) leaf of Marram grass, Ammophila arenaria. The deep grooved sheet is thrown right into folds (seen here) and also it uncurls as soon as mature so that the folds do not confront the centre. The folds maintain water and withstand salt, and also prevent extreme evaporation. Ring vascular bundles room visible within each fold, offer to move food and water through the leaf. Spines on the surface ar discourage pets from eating the leaf. Marram grass is vital in seaside ecology, due to the fact that it is one of the commonest grass varieties in Britain come stabilize sand dunes. Magnification: x22 in ~ 35mm size.

Maria Morrow, assistant professor that botany and environmental scientific research at college of the Redwoods, sharp out that the “smiley faces” space in fact vascular bundles common in plants referred to as monocots — plants that are only composed the one leaf, like grass.

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So although the above image does depict the materials of a real leaf cross ar under a microscope, it’s for sure to say the the image doesn’t in any type of literal sense display a leaf “smiling” or “happy to see you.” In fact, describing these qualities as smiley faces is a spatu call. Looking at the image had in Morrow’s article, one might argue the leaf is actually screaming in ~ you:

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Monocot stem cross ar (Maria Morrow/Biology LibreTexts)

In various other words, the “smiley faces” are just an illusion produced by the town hall a slice of the leaf’s round vascular majority from above, v a microscope lens.