Anatomy of a Hibiscus – Part 2 (Extreme Macro)

Hibiscus is a great flower to photograph. The contrast between the green sepals and bracts, showy red petals (this particular variety), deep red pistils surrounded by bright yellow stamens make a great study in contrast especially against a dark background. You may not enjoy the botany below, but I’m sure you’ll agree that nature truly offers a marvelous spectacle in the microscopic.

Click on any picture to see a larger version!!

A fully open hibiscus flower
A fully open hibiscus flower

We all learned in school botany (well some of us!) about the various parts that make up a flower. Generally, flowers have 3 components –

  • Calyx – made up of sepals that protect the bud in infancy and form the base of the flower
A hibiscus bud showing bracts and the calyx (which are both modified leaves!)
  • Corolla – made up of showy petals that encase the reproductive organs
A hibiscus petal
  • Reproductive parts (Corolla, Stamen) that are in turn
Detail of a hibiscus stamen and stigma
Detail of a hibiscus stamen (male) and pistil (female)
Close-up of the reproductive organs of a Hibiscus flower. The yellow stamens and the red pistils.
  • Stamen – that make up the male reproductive parts – in turn made up of the filament that holds up the pollen sac or anther. The anther releases pollen when open.
Detail of a Hibiscus flower stamen.
Detail of a Hibiscus flower stamen.
Even closer. Glittering Hibiscus pollen on anthers held up by the filament – forming the stamen of the Hibiscus flower.
    • Pistil – The female reproductive parts of a flower. These are also made up of three components
      • Ovary – that finally forms the seed after fertilization
      • Style – a stalk above the ovary
      • Stigma – the farthest extend of the female part of the flower which receives the pollen for fertilization. This is usually sticky and allows pollen to attach.
The stigma of a Hibiscus flower, with pollen on them.

The pollen in the above picture look spherical, don’t they? But in the picture below, which is a crop of the above, you can see that the pollen grains are spiky, thereby allowing them to stick to the stigma surface.

100% crop of a stigma showing the real structure of pollen.
100% crop of a stigma showing the real structure of pollen.

Well, that’s my botany lesson! Thanks for stopping by….

Technical Details

  • Nikon D7000
  • Sigma 105mm, f/2.8 macro lens (with extension tubes for the closeups).
  • External remote flash Nikon SB-600 Speedlight
  • Adobe LightRoom 4.3 for adjustments