Carpology: History, Object Of Study, Research

The Carpology is considered art or discipline to study the seeds and fruits of plants. Among its purposes is to try to recover the population or the floral landscape of a certain space, as well as the reconstruction of a certain plant species.

Therefore, it is a very useful natural method when a landscape has been deforested by fire, excessive extraction of its fruits or other types of natural or caused disasters . Thus, carpology can help improve the planet in the long term.

In the case of working on the reforestation of a specific place, the land and the remains of the existing fruits must be subjected to a carpological study. Otherwise, you will not be able to have a control of the results that the terrain will offer.

It is a discipline that also has its detractors. These are reluctant to carpology since they have no interest in 100% natural fruits or seeds, focusing only on the mass production of processed foods.


When it comes to carpology, the main reference is Joseph Gärtner (1732 – 1791), biologist, doctor, mycologist and naturist of German origin.

He is considered the father of this discipline because he was the first to be in charge of studying the fruits and seeds traveling throughout Europe. The vast majority of his studies, oriented to this branch, were in London, France, Germany and Spain.

The reason for focusing on these areas of the world is because they are territories that are highly prone to having favorable conditions for the reforestation of a specific site or environment.

Other prominent botanists who had an important link with carpology were François Boissier de Sauvages de Lacroix (1706-1767), Philip Miller (1691-1771), William Hudson (1730-1793) or Adriaan van Royen (1704-1779), as well as Karl Friedrich von Gärtner (1772-1850), son of the first specialist in carpology.

Carpology study objective

The main object of study that carpology has, is to understand the evolution of the fruits and seeds of plants and flowers. This would have like main objective is the recreation of landscapes, both in flora and fauna, since one is linked to the other.

If an animal, or certain species, feed on some type of plant or fruit, they will have a greater chance of recovering their habitat and making a fertile place for their procreation.

His study does not focus only on the present, but also analyzes the evolution of the land to understand its possibilities. Therefore, the carpology eIt is directly connected to archeology and the bones of different species that inhabited the world millions of years ago.

In these times, carpology has become more relevant and there are many environmental groups that ask private institutions and companies to invest in this type of discipline, or at least to give value to knowing how to work with natural processes to recreate a space fertile and habitable.

Europe and Asia are the two continents most focused on this type of study, since both are in a search for sustainability without degrading the environment.

Negative aspect of carpology

Carpology can be considered as something of negative impact if to carry out the research the ecosystem is damaged or causes it to lose natural value. In many cases, this discipline has been used for crop improvement, but without sustainable control, causing more harm than good in the long run.

Featured research

Carpology studies in Egypt

At present, Egypt is recognized as one of the countries where more research has been carried out in relation to carpological studies.

This is due, according to researcher Eva Montes, to the fact that the fruits and seeds that were given to the deceased Egyptians as an offering are very well preserved thanks to the way they were buried with the body of the deceased.

A basic example is a burial chamber in the necropolis of Qubbet el Hawa, in southern Egypt. At this monument, lThe excavated seeds are fully preserved, allowing that even under microscopic analysis and classification, they do not lose their structure.

Biodiversity GBIF (Global Biodiversity Information Facility)

This laboratory has a carpological collection of around 3,800 species. The vast majority of these are seeds and cultivated fruits that have been found in areas of the Mediterranean.

Oxford University

It is one of the most important research centers in the UK and of course has laboratories for carpology and palynology. This is because England is an area where humid areas proliferate, so plant remains are better preserved in this type of environment.


  1. Merriam-webster (2017) “Definition of Carpology”.
  2. (1970) “Class of Botany: being an introduction to the study of the vegetable kingdom” By John Hutton.
  3. Organization Actforlibraries ( “How Carpology can help us”.
  4. Europemp- “Effect of agronomical practices on carpology” By: Rosati, Cafiero, Paoletti, Alfei, Caporali, Casciani, Valentini.
  5. Carpology of the genus Tragopogon L. (Asteraceae) (2016). By: Alexander P. Sukhorukov, Maya Nilova.
  6. It is Academic (2010) “biography: Joseph Gärtner”.

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