Stuppy, Wolfgang 1966-

views updated

Stuppy, Wolfgang 1966-


Born March 5, 1966, in Pirmasens, Germany; son of Hermann Joseph and Gisela Stuppy; married Emma Lochner, January 24, 2004. Education: University of Kaiserslautern, M.Sc., 1990, Ph.D., 1996.


Office—The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Wakehurst Place, Selsfield Road, Ardingly, West Sussex RH17 6TN, England. E-mail—[email protected].


Botanist. National Herbarium of the Netherlands, Leiden branch, Holland, researcher, 1997-99; Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, England, threatened plants officer, 1999-2002, seed anatomist, 2004—.


(With Rob Kesseler) Seeds: Time Capsules of Life, Firefly Books (Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada), 2006.

(With Rob Kesseler) Fruit: Edible, Inedible, Incredible, Firefly Books (Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada), 2008.


A botanist and a writer, Wolfgang Stuppy was born March 5, 1966, in Pirmasens, Germany, the son of Hermann Joseph and Gisela Stuppy. He studied at the University of Kaiserslautern in Germany, where he earned both his master's degree and a doctorate, studying botany and, in particular, the nature of seeds. After leaving university, Stuppy went on to work at the National Herbarium of the Netherlands, at the Leiden Branch, where he served as a researcher. He then moved on to the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, in Richmond, England, first working as a threatened plants officer, then becoming a seed anatomist. Over the course of his studies and research, Stuppy performed the first application of high resolution x-ray computed tomography in order to study extant plant structure. In addition, he is responsible for the discovery of the first somatic embryogenesis in cacti.

In 2006, Stuppy wrote Seeds: Time Capsules of Life with Rob Kesseler. In this book, the authors give readers an insider's look into the world of seeds, examining their practical role in the proliferation of plant life and also as part of the food chain. In addition, they illustrate the beauty of seeds as artistic structures in nature, presenting enlarged views of various examples in order to show their intricate design. Overall, the book serves as a history of the seed and mankind's knowledge of its purpose and evolution through the ages, designed with the lay reader in mind, or for use by beginning students of the subject. While Kesseler concentrates primarily on the artistic aspects of seeds, both as works of art themselves and as materials used to create other artistic works, Stuppy's focus remains on the natural miracle of the seed as nature intended it. Carol Haggas, in a review for Booklist, remarked that the book "energetically relates the story of some 300 million years of evolutionary adaptations that have enabled plants to populate the earth's surface," but notes that not all of the book's news is good, as it also discusses the rate at which various types of plant life are becoming extinct, as well. A reviewer for Science News praised the volume, stating that "in this visually arresting book, Kesseler … and Stuppy … pay homage to the seed and its resilience." In a review for SciTech Book News, one reviewer stated that "this volume contains a thorough introduction to the world of seeds."



Booklist, December 1, 2006, Carol Haggas, review of Seeds: Time Capsules of Life, p. 14.

Quarterly Review of Biology, June, 2007, Michael Wall, review of Seeds, p. 151.

Science Books & Films, March 1, 2007, Carole Saravitz, review of Seeds, p. 62.

Science News, February 17, 2007, review of Seeds, p. 111.

SciTech Book News, June, 2007, review of Seeds.


Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Web site, (February 18, 2008).