Wolfgang Stuppy, Seed Morphologist Extraordinaire : The Picture Show A botanist in England has teamed up with an artist to capture vivid images of seeds.
NPR logo Wolfgang Stuppy, Seed Morphologist Extraordinaire

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.


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.