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Indispensable parts of the plant, microscopic in nature and composed of SiO2 are called the Phytoliths. Phytoliths are mostly found in the intracellular and extracellular location of the plants. Phytolith production is wide spread in both monocotyledon and dicotyledon. These microscopic skeletal impressions of silica are diagnostic in nature and useful proxies in various interdisciplinary studies. Unlike pollens, spores and diatoms Phytoliths survive in extreme conditions for thousands of years. The notes in this Illustrated guide intend to give an insight into this offbeat science.
Phytolith science has proved to be useful in understanding the past at large; especially in the areas of paleoenvironment, plant exploitation, stratigraphy and man-land relationships. Phytoliths can be extracted from the minerogenic deposits, which are usually less suitable for the reconstruction of the past vegetation through microfossils such as pollen and spores.
This fascinating subject is full of curiosity and ingenuity which remains an important drive behind first-rate research.