Drawings of forest trees in the Root Systems Collection

December 9, 2021

One hundred and eighty drawings of European forest trees and shrubs have been added to the WUR Image Collection Root System Drawings. The drawings depict 40 years of root system excavations in Europe.

Forest tree roots

The newly added drawings come from the Wurzelatlas mitteleuropäischer Waldbäume und Sträucher. The atlas was published in 2002 by the Leopold Stocker Verlag. The new drawings show forest tree species, such as the Acer campestre, the Picea abies, and the Viburnum opulus.

The Root systems collection

The Root System Drawings collection holds 1,180 drawings. The drawings are the outcome of 40 years of root system excavations in Europe, mainly in Austria. The drawings, their analysis and description were done by Univ. Prof. Erwin Lichtenegger (1928-2004) and Univ. Prof. Lore Kutschera (1917-2008). These researchers continued to draw their findings although others had started to use photography or root samples. Their work led to several publications, the Wurzelatlases.

The drawings cover a wide variety of species ranging from agricultural crops, to associated weeds, and also natural vegetation, from orchids to alpine shrubs and trees. They show rooting systems of individual species, carefully isolated from their environment and drawn in fine detail.

Several years ago ecologists and soil physicists received WUR funding to scan this unique set of drawings in archive quality. The drawings were scanned in Vienna.

Researchers digging up roots from a tree
Researchers digging up roots from a tree

    Examples from the Forest trees set:

    Juniperus communis alpina
    Juniperus communis alpina
    Fagus sylvatica
    Fagus sylvatica

    Copyrights and credits

    If you are interested in re-using some of these drawings, note that WUR is not the copyright holder. You will find on the record of each drawing information regarding the copyright under "rights drawings" and for the Wurzelatlases under "rights publication".

    If you want to re-use an image in a publication, please send an email to Special Collections.