Skip to main content
Email Print Share

Cross section of succulent, leaved perennial herb

A cross section of <em>Phemeranthus teretifolius</em>, a succulent, leaved perennial herb

A cross section of Phemeranthus teretifolius, a succulent, leaved perennial herb. In addition to the single, large central bundle, a 3-D ring of smaller vascular bundles is visible at the junction of outer photosynthetic tissues and inner water storage tissues.

Some plants such as succulents have managed to grow very plump leaves. For this to happen, according to a new National Science Foundation (NSF)-supported study by researchers at Brown University, plants had to have evolved a 3-D arrangement of their leaf veins. This is how they could maintain adequately efficient hydraulics for photosynthesis.

To learn more about this research, see the Brown news release How some leaves got fat: Its the veins. [Research supported by NSF grant DEB 10-26611, awarded to Erika Edwards for the study of the evolution of succulence, water relation, and photosynthetic pathway in the plant clade Portulacineae.] (Date of Image: January 2011)

Credit: Matthew Ogburn, Yale University

General Restrictions:
Images and other media in the National Science Foundation Multimedia Gallery are available for use in print and electronic material by NSF employees, members of the media, university staff, teachers and the general public. All media in the gallery are intended for personal, educational and nonprofit/non-commercial use only.

Images credited to the National Science Foundation, a federal agency, are in the public domain. The images were created by employees of the United States Government as part of their official duties or prepared by contractors as "works for hire" for NSF. You may freely use NSF-credited images and, at your discretion, credit NSF with a "Courtesy: National Science Foundation" notation. Additional information about general usage can be found in Conditions.

Also Available:
Download the high-resolution JPG version of the image. (5 MB)

Use your mouse to right-click (Mac users may need to Ctrl-click) the link above and choose the option that will save the file or target to your computer.