Vegmorph and flowers

This term I again had the students engage in a leaf shape hunt.


Vegetative morphology had glorious weather for gathering leaves. A rainy day will require an all indoor option.

DeShawn, Nagsia, and Regina arranging their leaves. Note the cycad frond at the bottom.

Jayleen and Sonya

Joshua making leaf placement decisions

The groups first focused on arranging the leaves

Discussions turned to identifying the leaves

Every group, each member, fully engaged

The discussions of whether a leaf was elliptical, ovate, obovate, or lanceolate had the students engaging with the material

The inherent "fuzziness" of the reality of leaf shapes became apparent to the students as they worked

The point was not the finished product per se, but rather the process. Although the lobed leaf might be Microsorum scolopendria (the intent was to collect angiosperms)








I began floral morphology in the computer lab with a floral play list including time lapse photography and an animation of flower parts and fertilization.


Then we went outside with my intent being to find flowers to color, but days of rain left thin pickings. The flowers shown here are actually at home, not the school. I was reduced to Dissotis rotundifolia, Volkameria inermis, Premna obtusifolia, and Hibiscus tiliaceus down by the junction.


I considered heading up to the LRC to see if the Crinum asiaticum was in bloom, but I knew that as of yesterday there was nothing up there.


Ultimately I stayed down at the junction and spoke about the Plumeria obtusa on Jayleen's head, paralleling Pollan, “How did these organs of plant sex manage to get themselves cross-wired with human ideas of value and status and Eros? And what might our ancient attraction for flowers have to teach us about the deeper mysteries of beauty - what one poet has called "this grace wholly gratuitous"? Is that what it is? Or does beauty have a purpose? (64)”
― Michael Pollan, The Botany of Desire: A Plant's-Eye View of the World


Jayleen and Francina

Recalling the presentation earlier in the term, I suggested that plants have agency, that the plants are making the decisions, calling the shots, using us to get themselves reproduced by assisting us in our reproductive attractions. The modified floral unit needs more work. I still want to get into flower diagramming/drawing to make the session more individually engaging than in the past. Need more flowers on campus...

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