This model is one of a series depicting various stages of the complex lifecycle of this tiny liverwort species. Marchantia polymorpha is dioecious, with plants being either male or female and may reproduce sexually or asexually. This model is of an antheridia contain male gametophytes and produces sperm which will fertilise an ovum on a female plant. The fertilised ovum will develop into a small sporophyte, this then produces spores which develop into free living gametophyte plants.
The pea is a member of the legume family Fabaceae in the order Fabales. This is the 3rd largest family of flowering plants and contains many commercially valuable species.
This model shows the specialised structure of the pea flower with its combination of fused petals and interesting arrangement.
The collection also includes a model of the legume (pod) containing seeds (peas).
The Brassica genus, also known as mustard or cabbage family of plants contains an enormous number of commercially valuable species. Brassica napus, also known as rape or rapeseed (one of the more recent cultivars is canola) was of value in the 19th century as a source of lubricant for steam engines.
This model is designed to come apart to show detail of the internal flower structure. The attention to detail of form is beautiful right down to venation of the petals.
These flower and plant models were purchased by the University of Auckland around the 1920’s for teaching plant anatomy. Mainly made from papier mâché and augmented with a range of other materials including feathers, cotton shirting, wood dowel and wire, the models won many awards during their time of manufacture and in more recent times have become collectable and quite sought after.
The models were produced between 1860 and 1950 by Robert and Reinhold Brendel, a father and son company in Berlin, Germany in consultation with various University Professors according to their requirements. Due to lack of availability of live plant material and difficulty of live dissection in poorly lit laboratories, the oversize models were used as a substitute for live material and many of the models have been constructed to show internal structure in fine detail with the models separating into component parts. They were very much intended to be handled by the student.
The University of Auckland Brendel model collection contains over 60 models including mosses, moulds, algae and higher plants, with special focus on reproductive structures as these have long been the basis of Linnean classification.
The models are available for viewing on level 2 in the Biology Building but for a brief overview see the movie below and the still images in the other posts in this section.