Button botany: Plasmodesmata in vegetable ivory

Allan Witztum, Randy Wayne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The hard endosperm of species of the palm genus Phytelephas (elephant plant), known as vegetable ivory, was used in the manufacture of buttons in the nineteenth century, the early twentieth century, and again in more recent times. Here, we show that the pathways for intercellular communication, including the cytoplasm in opposite pits and the plasmodesmata that traverse the cell wall, can be visualized in century-old inexpensive buttons that are readily available in antique shops.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)721-724
Number of pages4
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2012


  • Arecaceae
  • Palm
  • Phytelephas
  • Pits
  • Plasmodesmata
  • Vegetable ivory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science
  • Cell Biology


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