Author Archives: Anna Laurent

About Anna Laurent

Anna Laurent is a Los Angeles-based designer, writer, and documentary producer. Her current projects are a series of educational plant-oriented media to advance botanic literacy. She studied evolutionary theory at Harvard University and graphic design at Massachusetts College of Art. annalaurent.com

Botany Blueprint: The Sweetgum

Specimen #6: American sweetgum, Liquidambar styraciflua appy October, everyone. ‘Tis the season of shape shifting, technicolor costumes, sweet treats, and fearsome accessories. Thus it’s also the perfect time to consider a tree with an according autumn transformation: the American sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua). To the sweetgum, the magic of fall is marked by the disappearance...

Botany Blueprint: Wisteria

Specimen #5: Japanese Wisteria, Wisteria floribunda he wisteria evokes visions of heavy Southern summer afternoons and the crumbling countryside estates of Europe’s past. Winding carousels of leafy amethyst pendulums construct a soft, heavy canopy, one that almost seems to narrow the distance between sky and earth. It’s presence becomes a third participant in any...

Botany Blueprint: The Oleander

Specimen #4: Rose bay Oleander, Nerium oleander: Whether by narrow habitat or subtle lifestyle, some plants remain in the esoteric realm of taxonomists and biologists. Others become fodder for cultural narratives. Wrapped in story, they become embedded with our associations, and, soon enough, they are larger than the sum of their botanic parts. The...

Botany Blueprint: The Long-beaked Storksbill

Specimen #3: Long-beaked Storksbill, Erodium grunium ne afternoon while waiting at a busy intersection in Hollywood, I noticed a rambling population of low plants. They were growing in that unplanned chasm between pavement and curb, the interstitial terrain of accumulated debris from air and street currents. None of the plants were flowering. Instead, each...

Botany Blueprint: The Wild Cucumber

Specimen #2: Wild Cucumber, Marah macrocarpus esign-wise, I think we’d all conservatively agree that an object should never be regarded as both toy and weapon. But it might be time to reconsider that binary proposition. As evidence, I submit the following specimen: the seed capsules of Marah macrocarpus. By many accounts, they are severe....

Botany Blueprint: The Jacaranda

[Ed. note: Botany Blueprint will be a regular column about the form and function of seed cases, intended to advance botanic literacy and make plants relevant to a broad audience. The project will cover 100 specimens in total, and it will detail the design of the seed case and its function in the plant's...