What Is the Structure of an Elodea Cell?

An Elodea cell consists of a semi-permeable cell wall, which contains a membrane, enveloping the cytoplasm, in which a nucleus, vacuole, chloroplasts and mitochondria are located. Some of these structures can be clearly seen under a compound microscope.

Elodea is a water plant. It can grow in aquariums, and it is an easy specimen to study under a microscope as an example of a plant cell. When studying an Elodea cell under a microscope, it is important to remember that the cell consists of two layers, yet only one of them can be in focus. As a result, only part of constituent parts of the cell will be visible.

To prepare a sample for observation, slice a thin layer off an elodea leaf, place it on a glass slide and add a drop of water. Cover with a slip. Using a microscope with a 40 times magnification, locate the cells on low power, and then zoom in to study the cell.

The cell wall is very prominent under the microscope. Some chloroplasts, but not all, will be seen, concentrating close to the cell wall. Chloroplasts will be moving, because the cytoplasm, which contains them, is flowing. The water-filled vacuole occupies the center of the cell and cannot be seen with a microscope, and neither can the transparent nucleus.