11 October 2010

A "botanical sundial"

"Banks’s early hero Carl Linnaeus had turned collecting and displaying into something approaching a European art form. At Uppsala he planted a clock garden or 'botanical sundial’, marking each hour by clumps of plants that opened only at one particular time of day (according to the strength of the sun). The time could thus be ‘read’ by the rotating patches of open petals, and even by the release of flower perfumes (such as tobacco plants in the early evening)."

--found in The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science, by Richard Holmes (Pantheon Books, 2008, p.48)


  1. Just because no-one comments doesn't mean it isn't a cool post. Thanks :)

  2. Wow, that's really neat. And an intriguing book title - may have to check that one out!

  3. The part about Joseph Banks was quite good. I'm reading the section on Humphrey Davy now. Not sure I'll make it through the entire book because of other distractions, but it clearly is well researched and written.

  4. really fantastic book btw...although reading it cover to cover is rather daunting.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...