3The Growth of Plants

Leonardo’s science is a science of living forms that are continually shaped by underlying processes, whether he studied the rocks and sediments of the Earth, shaped by water, or the organic forms of plants, animals, and the human body, shaped by their metabolism. Invariably, he would begin with the outward appearance of these living forms and then proceed to investigate their intrinsic nature. Thus, at the core of his botanical studies, we find the two grand themes that appear again and again in other branches of his science—nature’s organic forms and the patterns of metabolism and growth underlying them.

Leonardo’s outstanding ...

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