Pollen grains are the microscopic protective caskets conveying the male reproductive cells of flowering plants.
Wide variations of texture carry the identity of plant families, genera, species and even local variation.
Palynology is widely used in forensic science for criminal investigation and archaeology.
Pollen sizes range from 5 to 500 microns in diameter although most measure between 20 and 80 (1 micron is 1/1000th of a millimetre). It was not until the development of the microscope in the Seventeenth century that individual pollen specimens could be seen in detail.
They can now be appreciated with the aid of electron and light microscopy and corresponding advances in imaging.