Everywhere in the air drifts a miraculous plus potent dust of life. Unseen to the naked eye, a materials of pollen yet carries an interest of fecundating life-male life. Some pollens ride the wind to seek their fortune, and you may see all of them rise in a golden cloud if you tease the curls of a slim alder, or tap the fresh tassels of a pine. Others enslave the dusty bee as the girl threads her way from rose to flower. But every pollen grain is bound upon a journey, which may be an inch long, or hundreds of miles, and its destination is a female flower of the exact same species.
Without pollen no seed would set anywhere in the world, grass would certainly wither, and the fruit tree put forth no fruit. But because of pollen the wheat in the wind bows heavy with its grain, and. the particular young oak rises where the outdated one fell. For pollen flies across the ever-present chasm of death, and starts the miracle of recent life. Although so potent, pollen is frailer than a candle in a gale. Always it is in danger of dying of thirst or starvation. Unlike a seed, it has no great reserve within itself. An individual drop of dew may a pollen grain, for water makes the pollen coat swell up and burst, exposing the male germ to the fatal ultraviolet rays of sunlight. A grain of corn pollen can live under natural conditions only thirty-six hours at best. A small proportion of date pollen has been found still alive after several months. But, artificially preserving it in sealed tubes at cool but freezing temperatures, plant breeders have sometimes kept apple pollen alive intended for half a year.
Fragile as snowflakes, prismatic as jewels, fanciful because Christmas tree ornaments, some pollens under my lens appear-to create crude comparisons-like chestnut burrs, pictures of the moon’s surface, sea urchins, or clusters of those frilly papers cups around bon-bons. The basic designs are dominantly spheres and footballs. But pollen may also take the geometric forms of cubes, tetrahedrons, and pentagon dodecahedrons. The biggest grains, such as the ones from pumpkin flowers, are only one-hundredth of an inch thick; the pollen of the alpine forget-me-not is one hundred times smaller! Pollen experts may identify almost any pollen, so they can differentiate those invisible bombers -pollen of ragweed and oaks, grasses plus plantain-that drop their poison upon hay fever sufferers.
Indeed, there are several seventy observation posts in the United States, maintaining watch on these flights-wave right after wave of them, as the different types, the seasons around, come over. Specialists inform all of us that even an office high over the street is not sanctuary against pollinosis-as hay fever is more accurately designated
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