Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The Battle of the species: Lantana vs Melaleuca irbyana



The invasive weed Lantana camara (Lantana) is an environmental issue, thriving in the Australian landscape growing, replicating and spreading with voracious fervor: engulfing and destroying our native flora in its path. 

Plants such as the Melaleuca irbyana (Swamp Tea-tree), currently listed as endangered, are vulnerable to many threats including, urbanization, mining and grazing, however weed invasion by Lantana camara is considered to be a major threat.

This work depicts the struggle that occurs beneath the surface: comparing the root growth of these two species.  The multiple thick and fast growing roots of the Lantana allows it to spread rapidy, quickly engulfing understory plants and young saplings such as the Melaleuca irbyana which lay in its path.

The digital animation was developed based on micropropagation trials by the artist (growing plants in test tubes) over a 12 week period, the images depicted show the comparison of root growth between the two species.

The work invites the viewer to reflect on the delicate balance of the natural world and the inherent ecological consequences when this balance is altered.  

 


 DETAIL view of Lantana root
DETAIL view of Melaleuca irbyana root