Not to be sneezed at - Wilson webres.jpg


Welcome to the 3D Pollen Project website. Our goal is to produce 3D-printed models from high-quality scans of pollen grains - and to make them all freely available for outreach, education and research.

On these pages you can follow the project's progress, find out more about the project (who we are, why we're doing this, and how we're doing it), access our scans to build your own 3D models, and get in touch with us.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Why Pollen?

Pollen: not (just) to be sneezed at

Pollen may well give you hayfever in summer, but there's so much more to it than that!

Pollen grains are made of one of nature's toughest chemicals - sporopollenin, 'the diamond of the plant world' - and in the right conditions they can survive for millions of years. Scientists can use these 'fossil pollen time machines' to reconstruct past environments, tracking changes in forests, grasslands, and even revealing patterns of past climate change.

Being tiny and tough also allows pollen to be used in other ways. DNA can be smuggled into pollen grains using magnets to help genetically engineer tricky species. Identifying the pollen in honey is essential for checking its quality and origins. Pollen can provide essential evidence in forensic analyses of crime scenes. And using pollen grains to carry medicines and vaccines might help to make them even more effective.

So you see, there's much more to pollen than a runny nose..!


Did you know?


A handful of pollen contains about the same number of calories as a hamburger.

Data and images taken from 'Burning Pollen,' by Randall Munroe