Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Botany in miniature

For some surreal images of pollen, take a visit to the Public Domain Review which is featuring a rare work entitled ‘Ueber den Pollen’ (1837), or ‘Pollen up close’.

Fantastic illustrations of various strains of pollen in extreme magnification, as featured in the book by St Petersburg-based German pharmacist and chemist Carl Julius Fritzsche.


German speakers can take advantage of a key identifying each pollen type pictured see these descriptions.

In addition to the plates is a modern, black and white shot taken at the Dartmouth Electron Microscope Facility at Dartmouth College. It produced a photograph showing pollen strains at similar magnifications to those shown in Fritzsche’s book (around 500 times magnification)


It focuses on pollen from a variety of common plants: sunflower (Helianthus annuus), morning glory Ipomoea purpurea, hollyhock (Sildalcea malviflora), lily (Lilium auratum), primrose (Oenothera fruticosa) and castor bean (Ricinus communis). The image is magnified some x500, so the bean-shaped grain in the bottom left corner is about 50 μm long.

By Pamela Kelt