Porcupine Tomato

by Micronaut

Congress Center Basel Science Serie
Porcupine Tomato
"The idea for the Porcupine Tomato image came to me when I was visiting the Botanical Gardens together with my son Nelson. Edith Zemp is a passionate gardener who works there and who is always pleased to show me interesting plants. You can see with your naked eye just how fuzzy the leaves of the porcupine tomato are, making it virtually impossible to detect the leaf surface. That made Edith and me curious, and so I decided to analyse a small piece of the leaf under the scanning electron microscope. And this is the mysterious landscape that emerged. The thick leaf hairs have developed pointed branching over many millennia, covering practically the entire leaf surface in order to protect it against strong solar radiation or radiation frost. There are numerous such adaptations to be found in the microcosm, and they make the habitat into a kind of ‘wonderland’ – as if it was a picture of an enchanting planet or something conjured up by our imagination. And the strangest thing about it is that this parallel world exists around us here and now. It is an ever-present part of our life, but a part that remains unattainably small." – Martin Oeggerli | www.micronaut.ch