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SEM image of main leaf.

SEM image of central patch.

Lady's Mantle

In the mornings it is often possible to see large droplets of water attached to the leaves of some plants. These droplets make an excellent subject for photography and do not have an obvious purpose. Some of them, notably those on the leaves of Alchemilla mollis (Lady's Mantle), have been admired over the centuries, with alchemists collecting the droplets as "the purest form of water" for their recipes for transmutation and the elixir of life. The persistence of droplets of water on this plant long into the day can be mesmerizing. Droplets roll readily down the main leaf of Lady's Mantle, but collect and are retained in its central patch (see close up images of the leaf's surface to the right). Read more about this process in the publication below.


N.J. Shirtcliffe, G. McHale and M.I. Newton,
Learning from superhydrophobic plants: The use of hydrophilic areas on superhydrophobic surfaces for droplet control,
Langmuir 25 (24) (2009) 14121-14128. Via ACS server