Stock Photo Description: A detailed, color photo close-up of a cottonwood tree leaf skeleton. (After a leaf falls to the ground, microbes in the soil consume the leaf's soft tissue and leave only the cellulose and lignin skeleton.) The leaf's vascular network can now easily be seen.
The leaves (see the 'similars' below) I've photographed here were skeletonized through natural decay, and were hand-picked from tens of thousands of leaves. Here's an article on how this process works along with links to how you can artificially skeletonize new leaves by boiling them in alcohol, followed by a soaking in NaOH (Sodium Hydroxide or lye). Here's a similar skeletonizing technique, and a third skeletonizing method that involves using boiling water and household bleach.
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