Illustrations of the Natural Orders of Plants with Groups and Descriptions Volume 1 by Elizabeth Twining (1805-1889) was published in London in 1868 by Sampson Low, Son, and Marston. These images are now in the Public Domain. Elizabeth Twinning was part of the eponymously named tea family. Rich, educated and well-connected she reportedly spent her time taking art classes, visiting museums, writing and illustrating botanical books, and supporting good causes. Sounds like a wonderful life.
The family names written below each illustration are the original names on the plates. Some are now redundant as new classification systems have taken prominence, moving plants out of some groups and into others. It’s a great past-time learning plant family names, and if you can remember some defining morphological characteristics of each one, you’re halfway to recognising all the plants in the world. Each illustration below shows a collection of plants which at the time of publication came under the named plant family. Take for example Ranunculaceae, (the first one shown below), included are buttercup, clematis, delphinium and globeflower among others. What makes them part of this family? Well usually a selection of morphological details, such as how their leaves are arranged, or the placement of their ovary or some other reproductive part, or the absence of a character you might find in another family. It’s a process of deduction. If your still stumped you can always test it’s DNA.