These artworks are taken from the book Wild flowers of the Pacific coast. From original water color sketches drawn from nature by Emma Homan Thayer (E.H.T). It was published in New York c.1887 by Cassell & Company, limited. Its old age denotes it is now in the Public Domain meaning all images are free to use as desired. The pictures are lovely, and the introduction by the author below equally charming.
“In presenting this collection of Wild Flowers, I have selected those from my sketches that are most beloved by the people of the coast, and are new and of interest to lovers of wild flowers in the East.
I have given them to you as I found them growing in their natural simplicity along the trails of the mountains, and by the streams in the valleys. They are but a handful compared to the multitude we find all along the coast.
All the varieties of the East are found here. There is no peak so-high, or valley so deep, but you see their lovely faces waiting to welcome you. They smile and nod as if inviting you to catch them. You reach up to pluck one, and you discover a bright-colored neighbor beckoning you higher, and so you climb to the very top, all unconscious of the dizzy height, lured on by these bright-arrayed children of the mountains.
In the places most difficult of access I found the most beautiful flowers. It would seem as if they wished to hide the delicate members of their family from the rude gaze of the world, sheltered in some nook of the rooks, like a miniature conservatory tenderly cared for by the fairies of the mountains.
Often you will see a most beautiful specimen growing just beyond your reach on some rugged point. The desire to possess it is so great you can hardly resist the dangerous reach. I once saw a whole bed of fine bell-shape flowers on a point above me, impossible to climb. I had spent days in trying to find this variety, and here they were a few feet above my head, but no human hand could touch them. They grew wondrously beautiful while I gazed, and I imagined they grew larger and larger until they looked like a whole chime of bells ringing out a dirge to my disappointed ambitions.
In Southern California you can pick wild flowers every month in the year and in February they make their appearance all over the state, and continue their line of march up the coast, and by April you find them in the fields and woods of Oregon.
For those who are familiar with the flowers of California, may they welcome these in my collection as old friends, and to those who are strangers, may they prove an introduction to the home of the beautiful wild flowers of the Pacific Coast.”
by E. H. T
The common name below plates is taken from the book. The name in brackets is a possible genus and/or species name for the plant, along with plant family. With common names this old and regional investigation is required, and not always successful or accurate. As often old regional names are not on the web or even remembered. In the book the author gives the location of where the plant was found, that gives a starting place for a Google search (common name + location + ‘wildflower’ often works best). In addition, the brilliant Pacific Northwest Wildflowers which contains 16235 wildflower photographs by Mark Turner was very helpful, as even though the focus of this website are plants further north, many have distributions further south. Wikipedia is always useful as are local blogs and native plant society websites.
If you want another example of how to use this artwork (we previously looked at collage) just take a look at this website. It is charging $35+ dollars for each print bought. There are many others like this, where people are profiting from artworks in the Public Domain.
Buttercups (Ranunculus sp., Ranunculaceae)
Evening Primrose (Oenothera sp., Onagraceae)
Burr-clover (Castilleja sp. Orobanchaceae)
Baby Blue Eyes (Nemophila sp., Hydrophyllaceae)
Yellow Poppy (Eschscholzia californica, Papavaeraceae)
Larkspur (Delphinium sp., Ranunculaceae)
Wild Thrift (Armeria sp., Plumbaginaceae)
Cluster Lily (Dichelostemma sp., Asparagaceae)
Violet (Viola sp., Violaceae)
Wild Verbena (Abronia sp., Nyctaginaceae)
Blue Bells (Phacelia campanularia, Boraginaceae)
Snap-Dragon (Mimulus sp., Scrophulariaceae)
Shooting Star (Dodecatheon sp., Primulaceae)
Chinese Cigarette Blossom
Wild Heliotrope (Phacelia distans, Boraginaceae)
Tidy-Tips (Layia sp., Asteraceae)
Snow Plant (Sarcodes sanguinea, Ericaceae)
Forget-Me-Not (Myosotis sp., Boraginaceae)
Wood Lily (Clintonia uniflora, Liliaceae)
Azalea (Rhododendron occidentale, Ericaceae)
Salmon Blossoms and Pink Grass
Mariposa Lily (Calochortus sp., Liliaceae)