Within plant populations, no two individuals look exactly alike.
differences in traits such as flower color or the color of leaves in
are obvious. Other differences, such as leaf shape or growth form are
more subtle. This
variation not only provides the building blocks for evolutionary
change, but adds interest and beauty to our
surroundings. I began to photograph variation in nature while teaching
a college course in plant
evolution, when I discovered that many students had a hard time
grasping the concept of
within-species variation in plants. Variation within Homo sapiens
is a different story - height, hair color, eye color, length of toes...
the differences among all of us seem rather obvious. Do
plants contain a
similar array of forms, but we just don't notice? Maybe we would if we
spent more time with plants and developed the eye to see it.
Differences in organisms can be due to both the environment or the
genes, and it is only the latter that can be inherited. To increase the
of capturing genetic variation, I mostly work with plants growing
in close proximity to each other, in one photo frame. Such
plants theoretically share the same or close to the same environment,
differences are more likely to be because of genetic
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Images are property of Eric Knapp and may not be copied or reproduced