February 9, 2018
Lichen? Moss? Algae? Bacterium? What touched this dying palm leafstalk with turquoise?
This entry was posted on February 9, 2018 by Linda Grashoff. It was filed under Leaves and was tagged with Florida, nature, palm leaves, photography, Sarasota County, Sleeping Turtles Preserve North, turquoise.
I love the color and texture, Linda. 🙂
February 9, 2018 at 8:08 AM
Thanks, Cathy. This was the first time I’d seen this color on a palm leafstalk. I hope it won’t be my last.
LikeLiked by 1 person
February 9, 2018 at 9:36 AM
Absolutely beautiful shot, Linda.
February 9, 2018 at 8:20 AM
Thank you, Ken. The variety of appearances of the dying sabal palm leaves astonishes me.
February 9, 2018 at 9:38 AM
Beautiful composition and color. The small leaves add just the right change in scale to emphasize the turquoise leafstalk.
February 9, 2018 at 8:23 AM
February 9, 2018 at 9:41 AM
Inquiring minds do want to know what caused that color. Have you made any headway in finding out?
February 9, 2018 at 11:10 AM
Absolutely no headway, Steve. I was hoping one of this blog’s readers would have the answer.
February 9, 2018 at 12:00 PM
Can you submit the photo to the biology department of a nearby university?
February 9, 2018 at 12:12 PM
Better yet, now that you mention it, I know another blogger who is a biology professor on the other side of the state. I’ll try him.
February 9, 2018 at 1:08 PM
OK, Steve. Check out the new comments. We have a probable answer.
February 9, 2018 at 6:30 PM
Thanks for the update. I wouldn’t have expected that blue as the base color, either.
February 10, 2018 at 11:33 PM
There’s a – fungus is it? – that causes phosphorescence on wood in forests. Have you seen it? This reminds me of it. It’s a beautiful photo, the way you composed it, with the leaves spreading out, and those smaller leaves scattered about. Did you try it as a vertical but it didn’t work that way?
Here’s something similar –
February 9, 2018 at 4:41 PM
The stuff shown in the photographs of the second link looks like the right color, but my botanist husband has now weighed in. He says that that fungus only grows on woody tissue, and that the palm leafstalk is not woody tissue. I have also heard from another botanist—George K. Rogers, who teaches at Palm Beach State College—who says, “I think the base coat is the actual color, as it varies, with a heavy cuticle. Then some lichens sprinkled on….” My resident botanist agrees with him. The only reason I’m uneasy with that answer is that I’d never before seen a turquoise palm leafstalk—not a very good reason to doubt the experts!
No, I have never seen phosphorescence on wood in forests, but I’d love to!
Happy you like this photo, Lynn. I never tried it as a vertical, but I think it would work that way, too.
February 9, 2018 at 6:28 PM
So in other words, it’s lichens that created that color? Well cool!
February 11, 2018 at 4:41 PM
The green bits are the lichens. The turquoise is the natural color of the leafstalk (sort of faded, I’d say) and covered with a heavy cuticle (waxy stuff). That’s how I understand what George said. A few days ago my husband showed me, by scratching off some off the cuticle on a different sabal palm leafstalk, how the cuticle can alter the base color. When he scratched off the cuticle, what was under it was a brighter green.
February 14, 2018 at 5:41 PM
February 11, 2018 at 1:44 AM
Thank you, Adrian. The other day I saw another palm leafstalk that looked almost as turquoise as this one, so I guess it’s not too unusual after all.
February 14, 2018 at 5:22 PM
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For more information about the iron bacteria, including Leptothrix discophora, click on this image of the book They Breathe Iron: Artistic and Scientific Encounters with an Ancient Life Form.
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