One of the Harvard's most famous treasures is the internationally acclaimed Ware Collection of Blaschka Glass Models of Plants, the “Glass Flowers." This unique collection of over 4,000 models, representing more than 830 plant species, was created by glass artisans Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka, a father and son from Dresden, Germany.
Rotten Apples: Botanical Models of Diversity and Disease
Carried to our shores by the earliest European colonists and first planted in Boston in 1625, the apple, Malus pumilla, is a New England dietary icon. One of the oldest fruit trees to be domesticated, this single species now encompasses thousands of distinct varieties worldwide. Not only do these apple varieties differ in look and taste, they also vary greatly in how they respond to pests and disease. Combining historic wax models with a series of exquisitely-crafted glass models made by Rudolf Blaschka, this small, special exhibit, located in the Glass Flowers gallery, reveals the astonishing diversity of apples and the surprising beauty of the fungal and bacterial infections that afflict these and other fruits.
This exhibition is supported by a generous gift in memory of Melvin R. Seiden AB ’52, LLB ’55 and a grant provided by the Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund, a program of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts administered through a collaborative arrangement between MassDevelopment and the Massachusetts Cultural Council. The conservation of the Glass Flowers is supported by a gift from George Putnam III ’73, J.D. ’77, M.B.A. ’77, and Kathy Putnam.