Goethe


 Phases of Plant Development

At first the whole plant, in all its potential, 
rests, drawn together into one point, in the seed (a).

It then comes forth and unfolds itself, 
spreads itself out in leaf-formation (c). 

The formative forces thrust themselves apart more and more; 
therefore the lower leaves appear still raw, compact (cc'); 

the further up the stem they are, the more ribbed 
and indented they become.

What formerly was still pressing together 
now separates (leaf d and e).

What earlier stood at successive intervals (zz') 
from each other appears again in one point of the stem (w) 
in the calyx (f). This is the second contraction. 

In the corolla, an unfolding, a spreading out, occurs again.
Compared with the sepals, the petals (g) are finer and more delicate,
which can only be due to a lesser intensity at one point
(i.e., be due to a greater extension of the formative forces). 

The next contraction occurs in the reproductive organs (stamens (h), 
and pistil (i)), after which a new expansion takes place in the fruiting (k). 

In the seed (a) that emerges from the fruit, 
the whole being of the plant again appears
contracted to a point. 

The whole plant represents only an unfolding, a realization, 
of what rests in the bud or in the seed as potentiality. 
Bud and seed need only the appropriate external influences 
in order to become fully developed plant forms. 
The only difference between bud and seed is that the latter 
has the earth directly as the basis of its unfolding 
whereas the former generally represents a plant formation 
upon the plant itself.
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