Blue Stem

By Carl Zimmer | July 4, 2008 9:19 am

blue stem

Laura writes

This is a tattoo of the prairie grass Andropogon gerardii, or big blue stem. My masters research involved land disturbance, mycorrhizae and soil properties associated with this & two other common prairie plants.

Also notice that this tattoo is over a wicked scar from a car accident where I shattered my calcaneus. More than half of a prairie plant is below ground, keeping the plant alive during regular disturbances (such as fire or grazing). The extensive root system over my repaired heal symbolizes stability, strength and recovery. I had the obscure idea, but the artist (Kit) made my botanical mumblings a reality.

[Original Flickr page]

Click here to go to the full Science Tattoo Emporium.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Science Tattoo Emporium
MORE ABOUT: biology tattoos

Comments (7)

Links to this Post

  1. You Grow Girl™ - » Assorted and Sundry for 08/12/17 | December 17, 2008
  1. Tattoos

    Carl, that’s an excellent looking stem. I’ve never seen one before but perhaps that stem can soon gain some popularity and some ground over common plant/flower tattoos like the cherry blossom and lotus.

  2. Tracey A. Jones

    Having grown up with a backyard full of big bluestem, I freaking love this tattoo, both for the symbolism and for the depiction of the plant itself. The heel placement is already interesting even without the scar.

  3. Tracey A. Jones

    That should say “big and little bluestem”, sorry….

  4. Eric

    Wow, I have the same fracture and scar, how badly did this ink here hurt? I am looking to put something over it as well.

  5. Lauren

    Eric – lets be scar buddies! It hurt something awful on some parts, but fortunately the surgery made some parts numb and that part was wonderful. This area is prone to swelling anyway, so I was swollen and limpy for a few days after the tattoo. The hardest part was keeping that part of my foot exposed in chilly Chicago weather while it healed (no shoes with backs allowed).

  6. UnemployedScientist

    This is great! I’m researching revegetation of prairies and oldfields right now.


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The Loom

A blog about life, past and future. Written by DISCOVER contributing editor and columnist Carl Zimmer.

About Carl Zimmer

Carl Zimmer writes about science regularly for The New York Times and magazines such as DISCOVER, which also hosts his blog, The LoomHe is the author of 12 books, the most recent of which is Science Ink: Tattoos of the Science Obsessed.


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