Preserved plants don't look much like their living counterparts after they are flattened and dried. The Harvard Museum of Natural History instead has displays of plants made of glass!
Leopold Blaschka and his son Rudolf came from a long line of talented glassmakers. As a hobby, Leopold began making glass flowers from illustrations in natural history books. So beautiful, accurate and delicate were these models, a buzz began to generate in his hometown in Germany, and a local aristocrat commissioned 100 glass orchids. Leopold’s son, Rudolf joined him in the painstakingly intricate work. Thus began a prolific career in natural history glassmaking, ending in the largest commission of their lives; an order from Harvard college for over 3000 plant and flower models for their botany students. Leopold didn’t live to see the completion of the project, but Rudolf continued on without him, working alone from 1895 - 1936, three years before his own death.
Link to story. Link to more photographs at Flickr.
(image credit: Curious Expeditions)