Gossip meeting “Botanical slides”

Tuesday 8th August 2017

Joan Bingley, President of the Club, opened this meeting in the PA135 Meeting Room at the Natural History Museum which was attended by a good crowd of members including several who brought slides.

Joan Bingley opening the meetingJoan Bingley opening the meeting

Eric Hollowday will soon be celebrating his 90th birthday, and everyone present signed a birthday card for him.

The members who had brought slides briefly introduced their exhibits, and were filmed by Chris Thomas, and then we were able to admire the slides using several of the Club’s stereo and compound microscopes.

Members looking at slidesMembers looking at slides

And of course there was plenty of time for gossiping too.

Members gossipingMembers gossiping (Joan Bingley, Pam Hamer, Bryan Tabor, Mary Morris, Dennis Fullwood, Bill Varley and Kit Brownlee)

Dannae Haskath exhibited for the first time and was also the first person to be filmed by Chris Thomas. Chris filmed all the exhibitors, and will produce a video for the password-protected Members’ Area of the website. Dannae brought a good assortment of NBS botanical slides by Eric Marson.

Dannae HaskathDannae Haskath (being filmed by Chris Thomas)

Dennis Fullwood brought a wooden box with its trays full of botanical slides, mostly by Flatters & Garnett. We were able to examine the slides using one of the Club’s Zeiss Standard microscopes.

Dennis FullwoodDennis Fullwood

Dennis Fullwood’s slidesDennis Fullwood’s slides

Jacky McPherson brought 2 botanical slides from her ‘A Level’ days that we could examine under one of the Club’s Zeiss Standard microscopes, with accompanying notes and photomicrographs. One slide was a section of Tilia, from the cork on the outside to the pith in the centre. The other slide was an exam subject, and Jacky still doesn’t know what it shows.

Jacky McPherson with her exhibitJacky McPherson with her exhibit

Joan Bingley had been wondering what to bring until a PMS box arrived with slides by Colin Kirk showing the difference that 3 combinations of stains make with plant material. He used Alcian blue + safranin, Alcian green + Bismarck brown and safranin + Fast Green. The specimens included Buxus leaf, garden lily flower bud and Galanthus flower bud. Joan used the Club’s GX stereomicroscope.

Joan Bingley with her exhibitJoan Bingley with her exhibit

Joan Bingley’s exhibitJoan Bingley’s exhibit

Kit Brownlee brought along a wooden box containing a set of 48 botanical slides (2 per slot) sold by University Tutorial Press. This company is not known as a supplier of slides, and there is no indication who prepared the slides. Inside the lid was a list of the slides in Set C: Gymnosperms and Cryptogams.

Kit BrownleeKit Brownlee

Kit Brownlee’s exhibitKit Brownlee’s exhibit

Mark Shephard used the Club’s Zeiss Jena microscope to show slides including the parasitic plant dodder (Cuscuta) and passionflower (Passiflora), and also brought along and dissected a flower of Passiflora that we could compare with the slides.

Mark ShephardMark Shephard


Mary Morris was given a large collection of antique slides by her husband several years ago, and it contained lots of interesting specimens and slides by well-known mounters. For this gossip, Mary brought along several botanical slides from the collection for us to admire under one of the Club’s Zeiss Standard microscopes

Mary MorrisMary Morris

Mary Morris’s slidesMary Morris’s slides

Pam Hamer does not like looking at things that move, and during the recent Malham Tarn weekend she found an uncommon lichen, Toninia sedifolia (Scop.) Timdal, in cracks in a limestone pavement. She has made some slides of ascospores to try to confirm the identification, and showed us a specimen of the lichen using the Club’s Meiji stereomicroscope.

Pam Hamer with her exhibitPam Hamer with her exhibit

Toninia sedifoliaToninia sedifolia [by Pam Hamer]

Toninia sedifolia asci and ascosporesToninia sedifolia asci and ascospores [by Pam Hamer]

Stephen Parker showed a set of botanical slides by John Nicholls, who used to send out sets of slides accompanied by detailed notes in the 1990s. Stephen recently bought 3 of the slide sets and lots of notes on eBay. He provided a very small Nikon stereomicroscope for viewing the slides, with an LED disc to provide transmitted light.

Stephen ParkerStephen Parker

Stephen Parker’s exhibitStephen Parker’s exhibit

Chris Thomas posted a photomicrograph on the Club’s Facebook group of an Ernie Ives slide of wood from Tetraplasandra waialealae Rock, the Ohe Ohe tree of New Zealand.

Wood from Ohe Ohe treeSection of wood from Ohe Ohe tree (Tetraplasandra waialealae Rock), slide by Ernie Ives, 10× objective using dark ground. Stack of about 60 images at 2 micron steps as the sample was undulating under the cover slip. [by Chris Thomas]

Alan Wood brought 8 slides, 4 of them by Quekett or PMS members, most of which he had acquired cheaply at microscope club meetings from the mounters or in job lots. Alan used one of the Club’s Lomo С11 microscopes to show his slides.

Alan Wood’s slidesAlan Wood’s slides

Fleur White looking at Alan Wood’s slidesFleur White looking at Alan’s slides

Wood from teak (Tectona grandis)Tangential section of wood from teak (Tectona grandis L.f.), stained with safranin, slide by Ernie Ives, 10× objective

Daffodil ovaryDaffodil ovary, stained with astra blue and safranin, slide by Mike Smith, 10× objective

Root of daisy (Bellis perennis)Transverse section of root of daisy (Bellis perennis L.), slide by John Wells (Biosil), 4× objective

Square stem of catmint (Nepeta cataria)Transverse section of stem of catmint (Nepeta cataria L.), note the square section, typical of Lamiaceae, 2× objective

Chromosomes in root tips of AlliumRoot tip of Allium sp., stained to show chromosomes, slide by Philip Harris, 100× dry objective

Fibres of flax (Linum usitatissimum)Fibres of flax (Linum usitatissimum L.), 4× objective, crossed polarisers

Pollen of mallow (Malva sp.)Pollen grain of mallow (Malva sp.), slide by Eric Marson (NBS), 40× objective

Starch grains from Calabar bean (Physostigma venenosum)Starch grains from Calabar bean (Physostigma venenosum Balf.), 20× objective, crossed polarisers with makeshift retarder

Report and photographs by Alan Wood

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