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PlantStudio Kurtz-Fernhout Software
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Botanical strengths and limitations of PlantStudio

Plant structure is tremendously various: there is no rule without several exceptions. (For a fascinating look at the varieties of plant form, see Bell's Plant Form.) PlantStudio attempts to simulate and draw a wide variety of herbaceous plants, but any attempt to do this must leave out some variation. These are the types of plant structures this version of PlantStudio does and does not draw well.

Plant features this version of PlantStudio draws well
Plants that can stand up on their own. This includes many wildflowers, garden plants, ornamental plants, etc. Within this restriction plants can have varying degrees of stem stiffness.
gif/plantstudio00090000.gif Separate male and female inflorescences and flowers on one plant, such as corn and cucumber. These inflorescences and flowers have separate growth and timing parameters to get as close as possible to the different floral structures.
gif/plantstudio00090000.gif Fruits. You can choose the timing and shape of fruit growth and design the fruit shapes yourself.
gif/plantstudio00090000.gif Bolting. Many plants form rosettes in the first year and bolt in the second year, such as radishes and many wildflowers. You can specify when and how strongly bolting occurs.
gif/plantstudio00090000.gif Special phyllotactic angles (the angle between successive leaves). The default angle (137.5 degrees) is the most common, but there are exceptions.
gif/plantstudio00090000.gif Enlarged axillary buds such as in Brussels sprouts.
gif/plantstudio00090000.gif Sympodial branching (where each apical meristem dies, and an axillary meristem creates the next stem and leaves) such as in tomatoes. Most plants have monopodial branching (where apical meristems are the primary creators of new stems and leaves).
gif/plantstudio00090000.gif A variety of branching patterns. You can control branching (and therefore plant shape) with an index of overall branching, a check on secondary branching (and tertiary, etc), and an index of apical dominance.
gif/plantstudio00090000.gif A variety of plant growth patterns. Fine control over the allocation of plant biomass and the timing of growth lets you manage how the plant grows and is shaped.
gif/plantstudio00090000.gif Compound leaves in pinnate or palmate shapes.
gif/plantstudio00090000.gif The most common inflorescence types. The parameter-driven approach (rather than picking a type from a list) helps you to customize the inflorescence to look most like the plant you want. You can also manipulate the timing of flower appearances and the arrangement of flower appearance (bottom-to-top or top-to-bottom).
gif/plantstudio00090000.gif Showing the top of the root for plants such as carrots and beets.

Plant features this version of PlantStudio does not draw well
Droopy, clinging, vining, or hanging plants. PlantStudio does not simulate the effects of gravity, so it works best for plants that stand up mostly on their own. You can create plants with some curviness in their stems, but PlantStudio has no realistic model of weight-bearing stems. For example, a plant such as a columbine doesn't look very good in PlantStudio because PlantStudio doesn't simulate how the flowers droop and nod.
gif/plantstudio00090000.gif Stipules, thorns, adventitious roots, whorled leaves, variably-shaped leaves, vegetative propagation (runners), and other less-common plant structures.
gif/plantstudio00090000.gif Flowers with parts that can't easily be represented by rotating a 3D object around in a circle (such as orchids).
gif/plantstudio00090000.gif Many less-common types of inflorescence architecture.
gif/plantstudio00090000.gif Runners, prop roots and other less-common root systems.
gif/plantstudio00090000.gif Flowers with multiple layers of petals, sepals or other structures around the flower.
gif/plantstudio00090000.gif Leaves and flowers with multiple colors such as coleus and some violets.
gif/plantstudio00090000.gif Flowers with pistils and stamens large enough to see.
gif/plantstudio00090000.gif True leaf veining patterns. With care you can create 3D objects in PlantStudio that mimic somewhat the vein pattern on a leaf, but PlantStudio makes no attempt to actually model or draw leaf veins.
gif/plantstudio00090000.gif Monocotyledonous plants (monocots). In PlantStudio, monocots are handled simply by displaying one seedling leaf, but in reality monocot growth is quite different from dicot growth. And monocot leaf growth is not drawn correctly. Meristems in the leaves of monocots are found at the leaf bases, while dicot leaves have meristems at their furthest edges. PlantStudio models leaf growth on dicot leaves.
gif/plantstudio00090000.gif Trees. PlantStudio does not simulate the secondary growth that increases the girth of trees, nor does it handle multiple-season growth. You can produce a plant that looks something like a tree, but it will not grow like a tree and will probably take a very long time to draw.
gif/plantstudio00090000.gif Dioecious plants, that is, plants that are either wholly male or wholly female (such as asparagus).

We hope to address at least some of these limitations in a future version of PlantStudio. Since our emphasis will probably continue to be on
herbaceous plants, the gravity and floral-structure limitations will most likely capture our attention. If you have a particular plant structure you would like to see in the next version of PlantStudio, send us your botanical wish list -- we would like to know what you want to see.

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Updated: March 10, 1999. Questions/comments on site to
Copyright © 1998, 1999 Paul D. Fernhout & Cynthia F. Kurtz.