Clemente de' Vallisneria
Un Sedicesimo 49
The 15 flowers contained in this Sedicesimo represent a very small part of the Herbarium Microscopicum by Clemente de’ Vallisneria. A work beyond compare in the world of botany: in terms of size (it comprehends a countless number of flowers, and the cataloguing is still ongoing), in terms of the type of flowers featured (bioluminescent and diatomaceous flowers not visible to the human eye and hitherto unknown) and in terms of the mystery that surrounds the author of this work, about whom very little is known, or as he would wish, almost nothing. That perhaps explains his choice to put on the frontispiece of the Herbarium this aphorism by Vladimir Jankélévitch on: “Love is more of a respect of a mystery than a desire to know”.
Clemente de’ Vallisneria is an enigmatic figure amidst the rigorous world of natural sciences. Born in Auckland (NZ) in 1999 to a family of Italian origins, his passion for botany was catalyzed by the fortunate encounter in a second hand bookstore with Maurice Maeterlinck and his text The Intelligence of Flowers.
Despite being self-taught, his work clearly drew from Leo Lionni’s theories on parallel botany since his early experimentations concerning involuntary agamic propagation. He wrote an essay (currently unpublished) on dioicus plants, in which he coined the term pseudo-gamete, in reference to his discovery of the reproductive cell of those species presenting a sensorial phylogenesis (such as the deritacee).