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In the poem Auguries of Innocence, 19th-century English mystic, poet and artist William Blake wrote about seeing the world in a grain of sand. Metaphorically he was spot on. However, although less poetic, it would have been more accurate to write about seeing the world in a seed. For as South African National Biodiversity Institute senior horticulturalist Cherise Viljoen says: "Seeds hold the entire DNA of that plant. They are so cleverly designed that they really are the secret to life." Wild Harvest: Nectar, Berries, Capsules and Seeds is an interactive exhibition of botanical drawings and paintings of seeds, fruit and specimens curated by Mary van Blommestein in conjunction with Viljoen. And while the impetus and atmosphere of the exhibition is a joyous celebration of autumnal bounty, there falls a shadow. Life-perpetuating seeds are at risk from SA’s drought, arsonists’ fires, the death of pollinators from pesticides, human encroachment on habitats and the competition from genet...

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