Last in our series of free botanical vintage art from The New Botanical Garden book via the Biodiversity Heritage Library. See previous post for details. All images below are in the Public Domain for you to use as you wish. We work through from Primula to Vitex.
Please note that the name in brackets is the current accepted scientific name. To get this, we check the scientific name given in the book against the Catalogue of Life and/or The Plant List, to see if it is still used today or now classified as a synonym. The common name below is the name given in the book only. Some of these do not correspond to the plant name used today. An example is the first plant below: In the UK we know Primula veris as Cowslip and the more rare Primula elatior as Oxlip. Yet the New Botanic Garden calls Primula veris Oxlip. Confused? We know this book was written in 1812 and Plantlife tells us that up to that point people believed Oxlip to be a hybrid of Cowslip and Primrose. Then in 1842 a botanist in consultation with Charles Darwin proved it to be its own species. Maybe that explains why they are calling Primula veris Oxlip, but it doesn’t tell us confidently what species we see in the picture. It may be possible that we can determine that from a good identification key and a belief in the accuracy of the art work. However, it is likely even that will not be enough, as apparently a good sniff is the only reliable diagnostic tool. No such luxury here. It doesn’t get any easier, as the next plant isn’t straight-forward either, referring to the Fern-leaved Peony as Fine-leaved Peony. Then there seems to be two Philadelphus coronarius plants (perhaps cultivars?) and Sarracenia is written as Sarracena. One wonders if these names have changed over the years with mis-spellings or mis-communication between artist and scribe. Plant Curator has noticed a number of inconsistencies between the table of contents and the plant names written on the plates in the book. It was probably difficult to correct a mistake back then, so better to leave it hoping no-one noticed, rather than do the whole drawing or table of contents again.
Now we have some free vintage botanical art, and we have ascertained the current day scientific name (if not the common), what can we do with it? Suggestions please.
Phlox paniculata (Phlox paniculata) L. – Panicled Lychnidea
Polygala chamaebuxus (Polygaloides chamaebuxus (L.) O. Schwarz) – Box-leaved Milkwort
Physalis alkekengi (Physalis alkekengi L.) – Winter Cherry
Tradescantia virginica (Tradescantia virginiana L.) – Virginian spiderwort
Trillium sessile (Trillium sessile L.) – Sessile Trillium
Thalictrum aquilegifolium (Thalictrum aquilegifolium L.) – Feathered Columbine