Structural colours in the frond of Microsorum thailandicum.
The Royal Society
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Steiner, L. M., Ogawa, Y., Johansen, V. E., Lundquist, C. R., Whitney, H., & Vignolini, S. (2019). Structural colours in the frond of Microsorum thailandicum.. Interface Focus, 9 (1), 20180055. https://doi.org/10.1098/rsfs.2018.0055
Blue and near-ultraviolet structural colours have often been reported in understorey plants living in deep shade. While this intense blue coloration is very catchy to the eye of a human observer, there are cases in which structural colours can be hidden either by the scattered light interacting with pigments or because they are found in unexpected positions in the plants. Here, we show that the fronds of Microsorum thailandicum produce structural coloration on both the adaxial and abaxial epidermal surface. While cellulose helicoidal structures are responsible for this coloration in both epidermal layers, the reflected colours are consistently different: an intense blue reflection is found in the adaxial epidermis while red-shifted and less intense colours are observed in the abaxial epidermis, possibly suggesting photo-adaptation of the plant to the light environment. By comparing the optical properties of the fern with its anatomy we computed the theoretical reflection accounting for the presence of disorder in the cellulose helicoidal architecture.
This work was supported by the European Research Council [ERC-2014-STG H2020 639088], the BBSRC David Phillips Fellowship [BB/K014617/1], the EPSRC [EP/N016920/1], and the European Commission, Marie Curie Fellowship [LODIS 701455].
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BB/K014617/1)
European Research Council (639088)
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/N016920/1)
European Commission Horizon 2020 (H2020) Marie Sk?odowska-Curie actions (701455)
External DOI: https://doi.org/10.1098/rsfs.2018.0055
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/287590