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Physical basis and ecological significance of iridescence in blue plants

Naturevolume 254pages5051 (1975) | Download Citation



MANY terrestrial plants of lowland tropical rainforests exhibit a conspicuous blue-green iridescence on their leaves—Richards1 has observed these plants in Africa, South America, and South-east Asia. We have seen many species of blue plants on the rainforest floor in Malaya, from diverse groups including the ferns, Selaginella, and flowering plants. In Malaya the most spectacular and most common iridescent blue plant is Selaginella willdenovii (Desv.) Spring, also frequently cultivated in greenhouses. All comments on the iridescent colour refer back to the observation of Stahl2 who reported the presence of reflection granules in the epidermal cells of S. willdenovii.

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  1. Faculty of Science, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

    • D. W. LEE
    •  & J. B. LOWRY


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