The Metamorphosis of Plants

The Metamorphosis of Plants, published in 1790, was Goethe's first major attempt to describe what he called in a letter to a friend “the truth about the how of the organism.” Inspired by the diversity of flora he found on a journey to Italy, Goethe sought a unity of form in diverse structures. He came to see in the leaf the germ of a plant's metamorphosis―“the true Proteus who can hide or reveal himself in all vegetal forms”―from the root and stem leaves to the calyx and corolla, to pistil and stamens.

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