Light and SEM observation of opal phytoliths in the mulberry leaf

O. Tsutsui, R. Sakamoto, M. Obayashi, S. Yamakawa, T. Handa, D. Nishio-Hamane, I. Matsuda*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Biogenic mineral deposits 25-100 μm in diameter were observed by microscopic examination of the leaf of mulberry (Morus alba) 'Ichinose'. Using chemical mapping with scanning electron microscope, the deposits were determined to be opal phytoliths, composed largely of biogenic silica. Phytoliths varied in diameter and were distributed heterogeneously within a leaf. Many phytoliths were observed in close proximity to small veins. Phytolith growth in the mulberry leaf proceeds by deposition of silicon compounds transferred via the network of cell walls.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44-50
Number of pages7
JournalFlora: Morphology, Distribution, Functional Ecology of Plants
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Microfossil
  • Microscopy
  • Mulberry
  • Opal phytolith

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Plant Science


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