Seeds are the most complex organs plants ever produce. A major keystone in the evolution of land plants, the first seeds appeared some 360 million years ago. Since then they have developed into highly sophisticated propagules that enable plants to dominate the Earth's surface and conquer almost every possible habitat from the Antarctic to the hottest deserts. The diversity of shapes and sizes encountered in seeds is nearly endless and ranges from the impressive Seychelles nut at twenty kilos to the dust-like seeds of the orchids. No matter how small, packed into every seed is the complete genetic information needed to give rise to a new plant, whether it is a tiny herb or a giant rainforest tree. True time capsules of life, seeds may travel thousands of miles and wait, if necessary, for hundreds of years before they germinate.
In Seeds: Time Capsules of Life, artist Rob Kesseler and Wolfgang Stuppy of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, present a natural history of seeds, illustrated with close-up photographs and scanning electron micrographs. The images afford an unprecedented view into a most astonishing microcosm, where the tiniest examples present us with the most exquisite beauty and sophistication.
Seeds: Time Capsules of Life is an essential source book not only for those fascinated by the natural world, but also for artists and designers, and anyone interested in the development of biological structures. We are all familiar with seeds, but never has their structure been revealed so powerfully.
Published in collaboration with the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
Rob Kesseler is a visual artist and Professor of Ceramic Art & Design at Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design. From 2001-2004 he was NESTA Fellow at Kew and continues to work with Wolfgang Stuppy on an examination of microscopic plant material.
Wolfgang Stuppy is the seed morphologist for the Millennium Seed Bank Project at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.