Wonders of the Plant Kingdom

A Microcosm Revealed

Wolfgang Stuppy, Rob Kesseler & Madeline Harley

A book on plants like no other before – two botanists and an artist join forces to take readers on an unforgettable journey into the breathtakingly beautiful microcosm of plants.

250 x 250 mm

156 pages


ISBN: 978-1-906506-47-6


Gourmand World Cookbook Awards 2015 – Best Photography

Subjects: Nature, Photography

The splendour of plants is everywhere. Their colourful flowers, fruits and seeds have fascinated people since the advent of mankind. But they hide a secret one that lies hidden from the naked eye in a microcosm of its own. Under high magnification, pollen, fruits and seeds display exquisitely sophisticated structures and patterns of breathtaking beauty, a beauty that is normally reserved for scientists’ eyes only. A groundbreaking collaboration between an artist and two botanists, this book tells the story of how flowers disseminate their pollen and how the pollinated flower turns into a fruit beginning a whole new chapter in a plant’s life. It is the success or failure of a fruit to disperse its seeds that decides the survival or extinction of a species. This book combines extraordinary images with a clear, easily accessible, yet scientifically accurate text explaining the different forms of pollen, seeds and fruit, and their role in preserving the biodiversity of our planet. Published in collaboration with Kew Royal Botanic Gardens.

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Wolfgang Stuppy, Rob Kesseler & Madeline Harley

Wolfgang Stuppy is the Seed Morphologist at Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank based at Wakehurst Place in Sussex. At the heart of this large international project, which collects and stores seeds and fruits from all over the world, Dr. Stuppy has found the ideal environment to feed his passion for research into the astonishing diversity of seeds and fruits. A specialist in a rarely studied field, Dr. Stuppy teaches seed biology to university students and members of the Millennium Seed Bank Partnership within the UK and overseas. Visual artist Rob Kesseler is University of the Arts London Chair in Arts, Design & Science. His long career has often used plants as a source of inspiration. In 2001 he was appointed NESTA Fellow at Kew. Since then he has worked with microscopic plant material. He was 2010 Year of Bio-Diversity Fellow at the Gulbenkian Science Institute, Portugal. His work has been shown in museums and galleries in the UK, Europe and North America, including solo exhibitions at The Victoria & Albert Museum, Kew Gardens and the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon. He is a fellow of the Linnean Society and Royal Society of Arts. Botanist Madeline Harley was, until her retirement in 2005, Head of the Pollen Research Unit at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Her research work, which is internationally recognised, is concerned mainly with the study of species-specific pollen characteristics in the field of flowering plant evolution and relationships. She has authored or co-authored more than 80 professional articles and books. She has presented her work at numerous international conferences. Dr Harley is a Fellow of the Linnean Society and holds an Honorary Research Fellowship for her work at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

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“A pictorial wonder that uses the best of science, art and technology to depict the anatomy of plants and their proficient reproduction”
Baltimore Sun

“A dynamic tour through a fantastic alien world punctuated by incredible explanation and information … [it] will dress up a coffee table, start a conversation or fill a young heart and mind.”
January Magazine

“Like fireworks in the night sky, startling images burst forth from the glossy black pages. The authors, recognized authorities in the field of botany and microscopic plant display, have produced a spectacular treatise”
Chicago Botanic Garden

“Sometimes it’s nice to have a book that just wows you.”
National Gardening Association