botany

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Design Science

A New Hydroponic Planter Imprints Houseplants with Tessellating Root Systems

May 21, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Terraplanter

Bringing a design-based approach to indoor gardening, Terraplanter ensures that even those lacking green thumbs will be left with a beautiful, minimalist vessel if their plant-care skills aren’t quite adequate. When it’s in use, roots grip the lattice-like outside, which imprints their dense entanglements with a geometric pattern. The vegetation reveals its tessellating design when it’s removed.

The soil-free growing system has four planting methods: rubbing spores onto the surface, germinating seeds in the grooves, wrapping an already blooming vine around the pillar, or propagating a rooted plant by attaching it to the side. Water stored in the center of the vessel then diffuses through the porous material, hydrating the roots and ensuring they require little maintenance.

Because of its unique design, Terraplanter exposes root growth as it occurs, while securing it on the exterior. “We believe in nature-inspired-technology, we love plants, and we see things differently. Bound together with a passion for natural material, plants, and ecological products, we combined our knowledge and experience to create a user-friendly product and an optimal solution for plants to thrive indoors,” the New York-based company said in a statement.

Terraplanter already has raised more than $2,800,000 on Kickstarter, and there are a few rewards still available. To see more examples of the hydroponic propagation, check out Instagram, Facebook, and the video below, which was directed and animated by Kobi Vogman.

 

 

 



Photography Science

Use ‘Roadside Wildflowers at Full Speed’ to Identify Plants Without Leaving Your Car

January 23, 2020

Grace Ebert

Dames rocket. All images © Chris Helzer, shared with permission

What’s a road trip without checking out the scenery? Chris Helzer, aka The Prairie Ecologist, has put together a new guide for those who want to know a little bit more about the wildflowers they see along the roadside but don’t want to leave their moving vehicles.

What about the silent majority who prefer to experience wildflowers the way General Motors intended – by whizzing past them in a fast, comfortable automobile? How are nature-loving-from-a-distance drivers supposed to learn the names and habits of the wildflowers as they speed blissfully past them at 65 (85?) miles per hour?

A Field Guide to Roadside Wildflowers at Full Speed,” which is available for free download, is a satirical take on the classic handbook that describes the plant, says when it’s in bloom, and gives a hint about where to find it. For Helzer’s project, though, each habitat is listed as “roadsides” and similar flowers tend to include descriptions like “anything yellow.” The photographs identifying each species are blurred to “appear as they actually look when you see them from the road.”

A scientist for The Nature Conservancy in Nebraska, Helzer began his blog in 2009 intending to serve as a resource for people interested in managing and restoring prairies. He tells Colossal he created this parody as a joke for his regular 4,500 readers who come to his site for his wildflower photos.

If you want to take this guide for a spin, be sure to heed Helzer’s warning: “Always use a designated passenger to look up flowers.” (via This Isn’t Happiness)

Butterfly milkweed

Western wallflower

 

 



Art

Fresh and Wilting Glass Flowers by Lilla Tabasso Explore the Nature of Ephemerality

October 4, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

Italian glass artist Lilla Tabasso captures the vitality of flowers in her delicate and precise botanical sculptures. Though a first thought would be to celebrate that Tabasso’s glass creations have the decorative advantage of never wilting, the artist depicts the full life cycle of blossoms and includes fading flowers alongside fresh ones. She often includes the word “Vanitas” in the titles of her sculptures that show decaying blossoms, a reference to the 17th-century Dutch still life painting genre that represents transience and death through symbolic objects. The artist crafts collapsed carnations with the same care that she renders seemingly perfect peony blossoms.

Tabasso’s scientifically accurate artwork is rooted in her background as a biologist. (You might also be interested in the scientific glasswork of 19-century father-son duo the Blaschkas.) In addition to her vase-based pieces, Tabasso also crafts jewelry and small installations, and has created work for Design Miami Basel and Vogue Italia. She is represented by Caterina Tognon gallery in Venice, Italy. You can see more of her work on Instagram.

 

 



Art

Biology and Philosophy Inform Kim KototamaLune’s Delicate Sculptures Made from Grids of Glass

July 19, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

Garden Micro-Organisms

Glass artist Kim KototamaLune creates ethereal sculptures that resemble abstracted organic shapes and faces. She builds delicate glass grids without molds, which she then works into sculptural form and displays in darkened rooms. This presentation allows light to permeate, which both illuminates the sculptures from within and casts dramatic shadows on the surrounding walls.

The artist was born in Vietnam and now lives and works in France, and has studied multiple languages. Cultural identity, the origins of life, and in-between spaces play into her inspirations.  KototamaLune shares with Colossal that she seeks to create an “uncharted territory in order to engage in a silent dialogue with the ‘strangers’ living in us. Those sculptures arise from the will to recover within each of us what is common in our fetal origins.'”

KototamaLune is represented by Da-End Galerie, with whom she’ll be showing work at the ASIA NOW art fair in Paris from October 17 – 21, 2018. You can also see her work through September 15, 2018 at Villa Tamaris Art Center in southern France. Discover more sculptures in KototamaLune’s portfolio on her website.

Garden Micro-Organisms, alternate view

Bourgeon Ancetres

Le Silence Du Nom

Le Murmure

Crepuscule Des Ames 

Left: Memoire Eden Garden / Right: Ombre Lointaine Des Reves Primitifs

Odeurde La Lune

Entre Deux

 

 



Art Photography

Handmade Textile Weeds and Other Overlooked Plants Printed With Found Images by Miranda van Dijk

April 23, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

Miranda van Dijk, from the series Sensitive Survivors

Miranda van Dijk, from the series Sensitive Survivors

Poet and textile artist Miranda van Dijk prints found images onto delicate faux floral arrangements made from canvas, cotton, or voile. The vintage images are transferred onto the textile plants using a digital printing technique, and are either hidden in the curve of a petal or are displayed prominently on one of the plant’s leaves. These works are then imbedded in a natural environment, allowing her sculptures to blend into wildflower gardens and other lush scenes.

For her series Sensitive Survivors, van Dijk modeled her pieces on twelve different forms of weeds. “Before the idea came up, I was obsessed by weeds,” the Dutch artist tells Colossal. “I saw them everywhere. Between my tiles in the garden, the playground. I found them so strong yet so fragile at the same time.”

Recently van Dijk published a book titled Sensitive Survivors (written in Dutch) which presents poetic connections between her handmade plants and the individuals printed on their forms. You can buy select pieces from Miranda van Dijk from her Etsy store, and learn about about her work on her website and Instagram. (via Anna Marks)

Miranda van Dijk, from the series Sensitive Survivors

Miranda van Dijk, from the series Sensitive Survivors

Miranda van Dijk, from the series Sensitive Survivors

Miranda van Dijk, from the series Sensitive Survivors

Miranda van Dijk, from the series Sensitive Survivors

Miranda van Dijk, from the series Sensitive Survivors

Miranda van Dijk, from the series Hidden Memories, photo by Oak&Fir

Miranda van Dijk, from the series Hidden Memories, photo by Oak&Fir

Miranda van Dijk, from the series Hidden Memories, photo by Oak&Fir

Miranda van Dijk, from the series Hidden Memories, photo by Oak&Fir

Miranda van Dijk, from the series Sensitive Survivors

Miranda van Dijk, from the series Sensitive Survivors

Miranda van Dijk, from the series Sensitive Survivors

Miranda van Dijk, from the series Sensitive Survivors

 

 



Art Photography

Weeds and Flowers Recast as Shadowy Subjects in Daniel Shipp’s Dramatic Photographs

July 31, 2017

Kate Sierzputowski

In Daniel Shipp's series Botanical Inquiry, the Sydney-based photographer explores how plants and flowers found at the edges of urban infrastructure fit into our modern world. Shipp collects seemingly unremarkable plants and photographs the subjects in built dioramas, an environment that allows him to manipulate the relationship between foreground and background with a controlled precision. Through this process he is able to create dramatic photographs in-camera, shooting digitally but using old visual effects techniques developed for early cinema.

By highlighting botanical specimens we have culturally labeled “weeds,” Shipp attempts to shift the viewer’s perspective on flora that they might walk past each day. He recasts these marginal plants as the subject of each of his photographic stories, showcasing their knack for survival even in the face of pollution and harmful human intervention.

“There are some beautiful ‘weeds’ that we might walk past all the time,” Shipp explains to Colossal. “I knew that if I could present these often unnoticed plants in the right context that there was potential for storytelling. Next time you go for a walk make an effort to look for plants in places you wouldn’t normally—shopping center carparks, service stations etc.”

Shipp further explained that one of the most beautiful colors he has photographed for the series was found on the underside of the foliage of a plant common to industrial parks across Sydney. The hidden purple was one of the most incredible metallic shades he had ever seen, and it had been sneakily surrounding him for the majority of his life.

Shipp was recently announced as the winner of Magnum and LensCulture's 2017 Fine Art Photo Award. You can see more of his photographs on his website and Instagram, and take a behind-the-scenes look at his Botanical Inquiry series in the short video below. (via This Isn’t Happiness)

 

 



History Photography Science

Explore the Vast Scientific Collections of D.C.’s National Museum of Natural History Paired with Respective Experts

April 7, 2016

Kate Sierzputowski

A presentation of entomology specimens arranged within one aisle of the Entomology Department compactor collection cabinets at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History. Designed to illustrate the size and scope of the Entomology collection. May 9, 2006. Featured researchers: Dr. David Furth, Collections Manager; Dr. Ted Schultz, Research Entomologist; Dr. Jonathan Coddington, Senior Scientist; Patricia Gentili-Poole, Museum Technician.

A presentation of entomology specimens arranged within one aisle of the Entomology Department compactor collection cabinets at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History. Designed to illustrate the size and scope of the Entomology collection. May 9, 2006. Featured researchers: Dr. David Furth, Collections Manager; Dr. Ted Schultz, Research Entomologist; Dr. Jonathan Coddington, Senior Scientist; Patricia Gentili-Poole, Museum Technician.

Carefully arranged within thousands of drawers, flat files, and shelving units are the collections of the National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) which together comprise 90% of the Smithsonian’s collections. Found in these material assortments are the reference objects that help scientists, researchers, and museum curators understand our planet—from solid earth fragments to biological material and cultural objects from civilizations long deceased.

In this phenomenal photo series from the Smithsonian we get to see the many researchers paired with the items they explore and evaluate behind doors closed to the general public. You can learn more about these many varied collections on NMNH’s website. (via Juxtapoz)

The Botany Department Herbarium at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History, displaying algae specimens, including coraline algae, wet specimens and the usual herbarium sheets. Featured researchers: Dr. James Norris (right, front), his research assistant Bob Sims (left, front), and associate researcher, Katie Norris (left, back).

The Botany Department Herbarium at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History, displaying algae specimens, including coralline algae, wet specimens and the usual herbarium sheets. Featured researchers: Dr. James Norris (right, front), his research assistant Bob Sims (left, front), and associate researcher, Katie Norris (left, back). All images by Chip Clark.

Botanical collections are displayed at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History. Botany staff present are Dr. David Bruce Lellinger (left, front), Carol Kellof (right, middle), and Rusty Russell (left, back).

Botanical collections are displayed at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History. Botany staff present are Dr. David Bruce Lellinger (left, front), Carol Kellof (right, middle), and Rusty Russell (left, back).

A view of one part of the Paleontology collection in the Smithsonian Institution's National Musuem of Natural History, arranged by the addition of representative specimens from other parts of the three floors of fossils in the East Wing. Staff: Dr. Scott Wing, Chairman of the Department of Paleontology.

A view of one part of the Paleontology collection in the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History, arranged by the addition of representative specimens from other parts of the three floors of fossils in the East Wing. Staff: Dr. Scott Wing, Chairman of the Department of Paleontology.

Whale skeletons from the Department of Vertebrate Zoology's marine mammals collections are displayed in storage at the Smithsonian Institution's Museum Support Center (MSC), located in Suitland, Maryland.

Whale skeletons from the Department of Vertebrate Zoology’s marine mammals collections are displayed in storage at the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum Support Center (MSC), located in Suitland, Maryland.

Anthropological collections on display in Pod 4 (designed to house oversized objects) at the Smithsonian Institution's Museum Support Center (MSC), located in Suitland, Maryland. Anthropology collections staff present. Panoramic image #7 of 7 at 26mm focal length.

Anthropological collections on display in Pod 4 (designed to house oversized objects) at the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum Support Center (MSC), located in Suitland, Maryland. Anthropology collections staff present. Panoramic image #7 of 7 at 26mm focal length.

An assortment of mineral specimens from the Department of Mineral Sciences' collections are displayed in the storage vault known as the "Blue Room," at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History. Mineral Sciences staff present are (left) Paul Pohwat, Collections Manager of Minerals, and (right) Russell Feather, Collections Manager of Gems.

An assortment of mineral specimens from the Department of Mineral Sciences’ collections are displayed in the storage vault known as the “Blue Room,” at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History. Mineral Sciences staff present are (left) Paul Pohwat, Collections Manager of Minerals, and (right) Russell Feather, Collections Manager of Gems.

Collections from the Department of Invertebrate Zoology are displayed at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History. Invertebrate Zoology Staff present: Paul Greenhall, Robert Hershler, Ellen Strong, Jerry Harasewych, and Linda Cole.

Collections from the Department of Invertebrate Zoology are displayed at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History. Invertebrate Zoology Staff present: Paul Greenhall, Robert Hershler, Ellen Strong, Jerry Harasewych, and Linda Cole.

Mice from the Department of Vertebrate Zoology's mammals collections are displayed at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History.

Mice from the Department of Vertebrate Zoology’s mammals collections are displayed at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History.

The Department of Vertebrate Zoology's wet collections of fish specimens preserved in alcohol, located at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History.

The Department of Vertebrate Zoology’s wet collections of fish specimens preserved in alcohol, located at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History.

Anthropological collections are displayed in Pod 1 at the Smithsonian Institution's Museum Support Center in Suitland, Maryland.

Anthropological collections are displayed in Pod 1 at the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum Support Center in Suitland, Maryland.