The Micrograph

Moreton Bay Fig Leaf

Cells in a fig leaf. Like the gum leaves, the fig leaf cells contain dome-like chloroplasts that capture the sun’s energy to make starch. The starch fuels the tree’s growth allowing it to provide food and shelter for birds, animals and insects. These trees also provide a wealth of resources for Aboriginal people.

The identity of the black areas remains a mystery.

The area in this image is 52 micrometres across (1 micrometre is one thousandth of a millimetre).

Image: Kathryn Green

The Artwork

Fig Tree Leaves

The Fig Tree is very symbolic to the Yaegl people. It is the tree which is at the centre of many of the creation stories from around Maclean (NSW). Today a large Fig Tree stands proud at the centre of Ulgundahi Island, a small island in the Clarence River which my mother and her family along with other Aboriginal families grew up on.I chose to look deeper into the leaves of a fig tree and was fascinated to see the build-up and layering of cells which go into making these beautiful leaves. When creating this piece, it was important to represent the cellular layers within the painting as they assist in telling the story.

Artist: Frances Belle Parker