The Root Atlas
Unearthed Intelligence

November 21 2022

The following drawings are taken from the Wurzelatlas, a book series that began in 1960 and is regarded the standard work on root research. It comprises seven volumes filled with thousands of meticulous field drawings. This grand body of work is the achievement of three researchers: Lore Kutschera, Erwin Lichtenegger and Monika Sobotik, all members of the Austrian Pflanzensoziologische Institut. For these scientists, root research means uncovering roots as they grow in their natural environment and to which conditions they react individually.

Prof. Erwin Lichtenegger (1928-2004) drew the exposed roots as true-to-scale mapping, because this manual method allows a documentation that photographic documentation does not make possible. The drawings are unique instruments for visualising something that is otherwise not perceivable in its complexity. Down to the finest details, the drawings show the growth of the roots, so that a different perspective and an awareness of the dimensions of that part of the plants becomes comprehensible.


View all 1.180 drawings
at the Wageningen University & Research Image Collection