ISIS Science Website


ISIS Art Home
Art Sale in Support of World Water Week
Colours of Water Festival
Colours of Water Exhibition
   Kathy Haffegee
   Mae-Wan Ho
   Li Poon
   Matt Poon
Compositions in Chinese Ink
   Homage to Black
   Homage to Black 2
   Homage to Black 3
Flower Power Exhibition
   Flower Stories - Kathy Haffegee
   Water Flowers - Mae-Wan Ho
   Cosmic Flowers - Li Poon
   Lost Flowers - Rosemary Mason
Flow Forms Exhibition
   Flow Forms - Mae-Wan Ho

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Artworks by Kathy Haffegee | Mae-Wan Ho | Li Poon | Rosemary Mason


There are more than 400 000 species of flowers according to the latest estimate in 2010 [1]. The flowering plants are by far the largest category of plants on Earth and many groups remain to be assessed. New species continue to be discovered, but 22 % are already under threat of extinction [2].

Human activities are very much to blame for the demise of flowers. The use of herbicides is a major contributing factor; in particular, the increasingly widespread deployment of glyphosate (Roundup) herbicides with genetically modified (GM) crops and more recently also to dry crops for harvesting and to control weeds in residential areas (see [3] How Roundup® Poisoned my Nature Reserve, SiS 64).

The demise of flowers is a very serious issue. As is well-known, [2] “every aspect of our lives depends on them. From the air we breathe [oxygen created through photosynthesis] and the clothes we wear to the untapped medicinal and food resources that lie undiscovered in the world’s plant species.”

The Chinese celebrate diversity and creativity with the saying, “a hundred flowers blooming in unison”. Flowers are the emblem of diversity and biodiversity; they also play the central role in generating and maintaining biodiversity. Flowers coevolved with insect pollinators about 130 million years ago [3]. Insect pollinators belong to four groups – Coleoptera (beetles), Diptera (flies), Hymenoptera (bees, wasps, and ants) and Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths) - that together account for more than 98.5 % of all (751 000) insect species [4]. Flowers and pollinators depend intimately on each other for survival. Without pollinators, flowers will not produce fruit or set seed. Fruits feed birds and animals, seeds propagate crops and wild plants that feed human beings and directly or indirectly the abundant wildlife on Earth. Without flowers, pollinators will not survive for want of nectar and pollen, nor birds or bats or other predators that feed on insect pollinators.

Not least of all, flowers create the endless palette of dazzling colours, exquisite symmetries of form, and heady fragrances. All of which to flood our senses and quicken our heart with love and passion; give comfort to the bereaved and ill, evoke fond memories of bygone days, or portend perfect futures ahead. No wonder we give flowers for all occasions.

A world without flowers does not bear thinking about.

That is why we have put together this virtual exhibition, to celebrate and propagate the magical power of flowers forever.

ISIS is fortunate to have co-exhibiting artist Rosemary Mason, who personally witnessed the devastating demise of wild pollinators and flowers in her nature reserve as glyphosate herbicide levels increase in the environment. She has chronicled the devastation in an article published in Science in Society [3]. But it is her unique collection of arrestingly beautiful photographs appropriately named Lost Flowers that speaks most eloquently of their disappearance over a period of 3 to 4 years. See collection: Lost Flowers | biography

Textile artist Kathy Haffegee is in her elements as flowers have always been her favourite subject. And it was Kathy who suggested that flowers should be the theme of this exhibition. Her collection, Flower Stories, spans an impressive repertoire in design, in the techniques and materials used, and in the resulting variation of textures. It aptly captures the full meaning of the adage, “a hundred flowers blooming in unison”. See collection: Flower Stories | biography

Mae-Wan Ho continues a love affair with water in her Water Flowers collection, reflecting a deeper understanding of the new science of water. Quantum electrodynamics theory and many new observations described in her scientific paper “Illuminating water and life” [5] in honour of Emilio Del Giudice, are pointing to water as the seat of consciousness, not only in living organisms, but in the universe at large. Water Flowers express the sensitivity and responsiveness of flowers to all around them, their resonances with pollinators, with us, and ultimately the entire universe. See collection: Water Flowers | biography

Li Poon completes our exhibition with his collection, Cosmic Flowers, which takes the feeling for flowers beyond the mundane to the cosmic dimension where the idea of flower was conceived and its power of generation originates. See collection: Cosmic Flowers | biography

Mae-Wan Ho

15 December 2014

See the exhibition here


  1. “Estimate of flowering plant species to be cut by 600,000”, Lin Edwards,, 23 September 2010,
  2. “How many flowering plants are there in the world?” Kew Royal Botanic Gardens, accessed 1 December 2014,
  3. Mason R. How Roundup poisoned my nature reserve. Science in Society 64, 20-24, 2014.
  4. Hu S, Dilcher DL, Jarzen DM and Taylor DW. Early steps of angiosperm=ppollinator coevolution. PNAS 2008, 105, 140-5.
  5. Pearson Education. Coevolution of Insects and Plants. Powerpoint presentation, accessed 2 December 2014.
There are 4 comments on this article so far. Add your comment
Sue Edwards Comment left 16th December 2014 20:08:22
What a beautiful collection of 'flowers and their settings and friends'. I will get them into my desktop to keep inspiring me!
Eric McArthur Comment left 19th December 2014 07:07:04
A truly wonderful comment on the beauty of nature, which many look at but never really see!
Allison Wilson Comment left 9th January 2015 06:06:41
Thank you for sharing this beautiful and important artwork with the world.
Pamela Dillon Comment left 28th October 2015 15:03:23
Thank you for sharing. The color of nature changes with rain. Sometimes seems to exaggerate the colors. I am thinking the same for vertebrates as water enlivens all cells into their perfection. Nature is perfect! Thank you for sharing this wonderful artwork. Having studied honey bees for 8 years, I was also enlivened by the photography of flowers and their friends.

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