Daily Picture Show

Wolfgang Stuppy, Seed Morphologist Extraordinaire

Over in England there's a man named Wolfgang Stuppy who speaks more than five languages, has a Ph.D. in botany and calls himself a "seed morphologist." His focus? "Seed structure of angiosperms, its relevance for seed banking operations and phylogenetic significance, especially with respect to Malpighiales," says his bio.

Right.

  • Prenia tetragona (Aizoaceae) seed, collected in South Africa, Cape Province
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    Prenia tetragona (Aizoaceae) seed, collected in South Africa, Cape Province
    Images from 'Seeds – Time Capsules of Life' © Rob Kesseler, Wolfgang Stuppy and Papadakis Publisher, London, www.papadakis.net
  • Calendula officinalis (Asteraceae), pot marigold, popular garden plant, origin unclear
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    Calendula officinalis (Asteraceae), pot marigold, popular garden plant, origin unclear
    Images from 'Seeds – Time Capsules of Life' © Rob Kesseler, Wolfgang Stuppy and Papadakis Publisher, London, www.papadakis.net
  • Loasa chilensis (Loasaceae), collected in Chile. Balloon seed with the extreme honeycomb pattern that is found in many wind-dispersed seeds
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    Loasa chilensis (Loasaceae), collected in Chile. Balloon seed with the extreme honeycomb pattern that is found in many wind-dispersed seeds
    Images from 'Seeds – Time Capsules of Life' © Rob Kesseler, Wolfgang Stuppy and Papadakis Publisher, London, www.papadakis.net
  • Passiflora caerulea (Passifloraceae), blue passionflower, native to South America
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    Passiflora caerulea (Passifloraceae), blue passionflower, native to South America
    Brazil to Argentina/Images from 'Seeds – Time Capsules of Life' © Rob Kesseler, Wolfgang Stuppy and Papadakis Publisher, London, www.papadakis.net
  • Delphinium peregrinum (Ranunculaceae), larkspur, collected in Jordan
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    Delphinium peregrinum (Ranunculaceae), larkspur, collected in Jordan
    Images from 'Seeds – Time Capsules of Life' © Rob Kesseler, Wolfgang Stuppy and Papadakis Publisher, London, www.papadakis.net

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In plain English, Stuppy works in the seed conservation department at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (or Kew Gardens) in London. Kew heads up the Millennium Seed Bank Project, an international conservation effort to collect and store the seeds of 24,000 plants from around the world — and the seeds of all native flora in the United Kingdom.

To make the project more accessible, or more interesting to us non-Ph.D. plebes, Stuppy has teamed up with artist Rob Kesseler to create a few books of vivid seed imagery, including Seeds: Time Capsules Of Life, from which these photos come. Even if we don't understand the meaning of "funiculi" or "micropyle," we can still appreciate that those things, whatever they are, look nice.

Learn more about the seed bank project, check out more photos on Kew's Flickr site and then lament the fact that neither your name nor your vocation title is as cool as Wolfgang Stuppy's.

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