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Protoplasma

, Volume 249, Issue 3, pp 721–724 | Cite as

Button botany: plasmodesmata in vegetable ivory

  • Allan Witztum
  • Randy Wayne
Original Article

Abstract

The hard endosperm of species of the palm genus Phytelephas (elephant plant), known as vegetable ivory, was used in the manufacture of buttons in the nineteenth century, the early twentieth century, and again in more recent times. Here, we show that the pathways for intercellular communication, including the cytoplasm in opposite pits and the plasmodesmata that traverse the cell wall, can be visualized in century-old inexpensive buttons that are readily available in antique shops.

Keywords

Arecaceae Palm Phytelephas Pits Plasmodesmata Vegetable ivory 

Notes

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Life SciencesBen-Gurion University of the NegevBeer ShevaIsrael
  2. 2.Laboratory of Natural Philosophy, Department of Plant BiologyCornell UniversityIthacaUSA

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