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  Idioblasts and Raphides
From: Ted.Held at hstna.com on 2001.08.14 at 16:24:49(7238)
You all may remember my query a while back on how to find raphides. One of
the responses included mailing me a copy of an old article from Aroidiana,
originally published in Carolina Tips in 1982, by Father Eugene Middendorf.
This article had a description of a technique of tissue mastication
(mashing and grinding), adding a little extra water, filtering out the big
chunks, and collection raphides and idioblasts that settle to the bottom of
a container (like a test tube). There were also several pictures of
idioblasts and raphides collected by this means. For those many who have
not seen the article, the idioblast looks like a transparent cucumber with
two rounded protrusions at either end. Because of the transparency,
raphides can be seen as a collection of extremely thin, needle-like bodies
within the center part of the cucumber. They look like a fist full of
pick-up-sticks, if people remember what those look like. Another picture
shows an apparently depleted idioblast with two messier stacks of raphides
at either end, the idioblast looking depleted. The caption on this picture
indicates that this idioblasts has discharged its load of raphides from
both directions. The basic shape of the spent idioblast looks to be the
same as the loaded one (i.e., emptied of raphides, but not deflated or
smaller).

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