Saturday, December 13, 2014

Seed diversity in all its visual splendour!

Last night trawling around online I came across 'Trust me I Am a Seed Scientist' at FB and was smitten with their gallery of amazing photographs ...
                                  ... this species was just one of many that caught my eye.

"Scorpiurus muricatus is an annual legume species, widespread in pastures of the basin of the Mediterranean Sea and it has tiny pea-like flowers and simple leaves uncharacteristic of a legume. Its contorted, pubescent pods give rise to its common name "Prickly Caterpillar".

This species below was another that I found structurally exquisite.

Swietenia mahogani, commonly known as the West Indies Mahogany, is a species of Swietenia native to southern Florida in the United States and islands in the Caribbean including the Bahamas, Cuba, Jamaica, and Hispaniola. Swietenia mahagoni is listed as "Threatened" in the Preservation of Native Flora of Florida Act 

Read the post here.

Now with Xmas coming along a closer look at the Brazil nut is timely. Who knew they came in this kind of packaging! I certainly didn't.

Brazil nut (Bertholletia excelsa), also called Pará nut, edible seed of a large South American tree (family Lecythidaceae) found in the Amazonian forests of Brazil, Peru, Colombia, and Ecuador. The Brazil nut is particularly well known in the Brazilian state of Pará, where it is called castanha-do-pará (Pará nut) and is grown as one of the major commercially traded nuts in the world. Brazil nuts are commonly eaten raw or blanched and are high in protein, dietary fibre, thiamin, selenium, copper, and magnesium. 

The hard-walled fruits are spherical pods, 8–18 cm (3–7 inches) in diameter, that resemble large coconuts hanging at the ends of the tree’s thick branches. A typical 15-cm (6-inch) pod can weigh up to 2.3 kg (5 pounds) and contains 12–24 nuts, or seeds, that are arranged like the sections of an orange. A mature tree will produce more than 300 pods, which ripen and fall to the ground from January to June. The pods are harvested from the forest floor, and the seeds are taken out, dried in the sun, and then washed and exported while still in their shells. The brown shell is very hard and has three sides.

Brazil nuts are some of the most valuable non-timber products in the Amazon but are extremely sensitive to deforestation, because of their complex ecological requirements. The trees produce fruit only in undisturbed habitats and cannot be cultivated in pure stands. They require large native bees for the pollination of their semi-enclosed flowers and rely solely on agoutis (medium-sized rodents) for the dispersal of their seeds. Brazil nuts are primarily harvested in the wild by local people. Many forest-based communities depend on the collection and sale of Brazil nuts as a vital and sustainable source of income, and the sweet nuts provide protein and calories for tribal, rural, and even urban Brazilians. Native Amazonians use the empty pods as containers and brew the bark to treat liver ailments.

Brazil nuts are related to a number of other tropical trees valued for their fruits and nuts, including the cannonball tree (Couroupita guianensis), the anchovy pear (Grias cauliflora), and the monkey pot (Lecythis species).

I recommend a visit to the Trust me I AM a Seed Scientist FB page if you want to discover more splendid species! Its well worth a visit!

Friday, November 14, 2014

#thebigseeddraw this SUNDAY + OPEN STUDIO NOV 22 - 30

This Sunday I am conducting a drawing workshop with a difference ... this one will be FREE,  communal and relaxed... with all materials provided. 


Brisbane City Council OH & S made a call on this yesterday afternoon when 42C was confirmed as likely temperature for the day. 
NB: I'lll be offering this free activity at my Studio over 9 days starting next weekend.

Between 9am and 1pm on Sunday morning people will be able to wander into an large marquee set up next to the Community Gardens at Seventeen Mile Rocks on the Brisbane River north west of the city cbd. 

This is a close up of the program where The Big Seed Draw is listed. Read that program here. 

Anyone who takes part in THE BIG SEED DRAW can take a photo of their drawing and post on FB, Twitter or Instagram with HASHTAG #thebigseeddraw to go in the draw for prizes listed on this flyer below:

I will also be running some sessions of the #TheBigSeedDraw at the upcoming OPEN STUDIO event from November 22 to 30 at my SeedArtLab Studio in Chermside, Brisbane. 

So if your based in the  Brisbane region but can't make Sunday please put the studio event in your diary and come and join us there... from Midday till 5pm over 9 days.

Student work from QACI 

OPEN STUDIO EVENT coming up at my studio!

If you have any questions please contact me ... and watch my FB page and Instagram for updates. We will have several special things you can participate in during this 9 day event.

I'll be back with photo from this event soon!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

A Short Residency at Food Connect Brisbane

This week I had the pleasure of spending my days with a Brisbane Social Enterprise FOOD CONNECT whose mission is supplying 'Local. Seasonal. Ecological Food Direct From Your Farmer'.

Text from Food Connect website ~

'Food Connect works to encourage a fair, healthy and flourishing food culture where food and the work of those who grow, produce, process, transport, pack and distribute (that’s the value chain) are recognised and rewarded fairly. Food Connect Brisbane was established as a social enterprise in 2005 by ex-dairy farmer, Robert Pekin, who when forced off his dairy farm in the late 1990’s vowed to create a fairer food system for everyone.  We are now achieving this by delivering seasonal, ecological food direct from local farmers to our community of appreciative customers in South East Queensland. '

Partners Robert Pekin and Emma-Kate Rose are also involved in the Fair Food movement, through the Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance 

From the AFSA website:
The AUSTRALIAN FOOD SOVEREIGNTY ALLIANCE (AFSA) is a collaboration of organisations and individuals working together towards a food system in which people have the opportunity to choose, create and manage their food supply from paddock to plate. OUR PURPOSE is to cooperate, to create an equitable, sustainable and resilient food system for all Australians.
This week the AFSA held a national promotion called Fair Food Week which is the reason I spent the week on residency with Food Connect. 


I've a few more images to add, one of a giant collage I made from Fruit and Veg boxes... and further notes to add to document this busy and fascinating week.  Back soon!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

REBLOGGED ARTICLE: Ancient life forms fed through fractal arms - life - 11 August 2014 - New Scientist

Ancient life forms fed through fractal arms - life - 11 August 2014 - New Scientist


(Image: University of Cambridge)

Is it a tree? Is it a fern? No, it's a rangeomorph, one of the first complex organisms to evolve on Earth. A new analysis of their fossils suggests that rangeomorphs' strange bodies evolved to absorb as much food as possible from the surrounding water.
Rangeomorphs ruled the oceans for around 40 million years, beginning 575 million years ago, in a period called the Ediacaran. Before them, life was microscopic. They grew on the sea bed, far too deep to harvest sunlight for photosynthesis. Up to 2 metres long, they had no organs, mouths or means of moving, so they had to passively absorb nutrients from the surrounding water.
"Geometrically, they were perfectly organised for doing that, creating the greatest possible surface area for absorption in whatever space they occupied," says Jennifer Hoyal Cuthill of the University of Cambridge. WithSimon Conway Morris, she studied how the anatomy of 11 types of rangeomorph evolved, using fossils to create computer replicas of each one.
Hoyal Cuthill found three main types. Some were tall and slender, like fir trees, projecting fronds at regular intervals from a central stem. Others had longer fronds that stuck out more to the side, like many deciduous trees. The last group were sponge-like, sprawling over the sea floor.
Each rangeomorph body plan was a fractal, so it looked the same at different scales. That maximised their outer surface area, boosting food absorption. One of the sponge-like rangeomorphs had a surface area of 58 square metres, almost the same as the interior of a human lung.
Rangeomorphs vanish from the fossil record around 542 million years ago during the Cambrian explosion, a sudden profusion of new life forms that could move and hunt, and had exoskeletons. The rangeomorphs were outmatched. "They were both being deprived of food and probably becoming food themselves," says Hoyal Cuthill.

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