Artwork is Copyrighted by the Artists
All Rights Reserved
Postings are excerpts from the exhibition catalog edited by Carol Woodin

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Bog Asphodel, Watercolor by Robin A. Jess, US

Narthecium americanum

Listing: Endangered, New Jersey, North Carolina (believed extirpated in NC)

The Plant’s Story

Bog asphodel is an endangered lily that grows about a foot high. Its habitat is very limited and specific. It prefers the edge of slow-moving water that may cover the base of the plant intermittently. Extended periods of flooding or drought caused by disruptions in hydrology due to development are its main threat, although water patterns are also compromised by beaver dams and cranberry cultivation.

The Artist’s Story: Robin A. Jess

I have been interested in flora of the New Jersey Pine Barrens for over 30 years and in the early 1990s, I produced a series of 40 paintings of Pine Barrens plants. I first saw bog asphodel at Webb’s Mill Bog in the Pine Barrens. One hot July day, I saw shimmering in the heat rays across the bog, a small but bright mass of yellow. I found a few plants nearer to me, allowing closer observation. I photographed the plant and made some color notes. Between my sketches, slides and several visits to the New York Botanical Garden herbarium, where I studied pressed specimens, I produced this painting.

More of the plant’s story and the artist’s story can be found in the exhibit catalog, available at the exhibition venues or online from the ASBA.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Glade Mallow, Watercolor & Graphite by George Olson, US

Napaea dioica

Listing: Threatened, Minnesota

The Plant’s Story

This inhabitant of the tallgrass prairie and meadows along streams and rivers is included in the National Collection of Endangered Plants. Often found growing along railroad tracks, plants can occasionally reach 9’ in height when in flower. Its range, being ideal for farming, has been widely converted to cropland. Flood control projects and increasing shade are added challenges.

The Artist’s Story: George Olson

When I started to concentrate on prairie plants and grasses in the 1980s, I was living in northern Ohio. I discovered a restored prairie in Stark County surrounded by prosperous Amish farms. This prairie was small but it was well stocked with coneflowers, grasses, blazing stars, and silphiums, and in a moist creek bottom, a vigorous collection of glade mallows. As I became better acquainted with glade mallow as a subject, I was anxious to learn more about its history and ecology. I was fortunate to meet some of the scholars who had included it in their research. The first of these was Joseph Ewan, an eminent and widely published scholar at the Missouri Botanical Garden. Our first meeting led to an opportunity to serve as artist-in-residence at the Garden in 1992 as a prairie artist. Working in the library, the garden and at the Shaw Nature Reserve was a real pleasure.

More of the plant’s story and the artist’s story can be found in the exhibit catalog, available at the exhibition venues or online from the ASBA.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Wood Lily, Watercolor by Carol E. Hamilton, US

Lilium philadelphicum var. philadelphicum pterourus glaucus

Listings: Endangered, Extirpated, Maryland; Endangered, Tennessee

The Plant’s Story

There are two varieties of the North American wood lily, one of more western distribution and one of more eastern and northern distribution. The western variety, Lilium philadelphicum var. andinum is fairly common, however populations of the eastern variety have fallen, leading to its listing as endangered in two states, and threatened in several others. Wood lilies are usually found in meadows or along edges of forests. Their decrease has occurred in tandem with the increase in white-tailed deer and human populations, the former grazing on them, the latter picking them or digging them up, and converting their habitat to housing and other developments. Some tribes of Native Americans used the wood lily for food, eating the bulbs as potatoes are eaten today. The University of Michigan maintains an on-line database of Native American Ethnobotany which was begun in the 1970s.

The Artist’s Story: Carol E. Hamilton

The structure and color of the wood lily are outstanding and it is little wonder that it attracts both pollinators and predators. Only after I have sufficient understanding of the species, can I accurately depict my subjects. I take photographs and make sketches while studying a plant in the field. I wanted to share the flower’s vibrant color and graceful shape, and to draw the viewer into the painting by following the flight of the butterflies into the lilies. The challenge is to put the knowledge of the plant and the glory of its beauty on paper for the viewer.

More of the plant’s story and the artist’s story can be found in the exhibit catalog, available at the exhibition venues or online from the ASBA.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Hawaii Tree Cotton, Pen and Ink by Lesley Randall, US

Kokia drynarioides

Listing: Endangered, Federal Endangered Species Act

The Plant’s Story

Kokia drynarioides is a beautiful tree with large red flowers, found only on the island of Hawaii. It is nearly extinct in the wild, formerly occurring in dry forests on lava fields in the North Kona District. Its population declined through the last century primarily due to cattle and goats browsing on the mature trees and grazing any seedlings that managed to sprout. Kokia seeds are eaten by roof rats that arrived in the 1800s with the ability to climb trees. By the 1980s introduced fountaingrass began to cover the formerly bare lava fields, inhibiting regeneration of the Kokia and other native plants and increasing the frequency and intensity of wildfires. Hawaii has been severely affected by invasive aliens. The National Tropical Botanical Garden, the Hawaii Forest Industry Association, and the Nahelehele Dryland Forest Working Group have made progress in outplanting and fostering K. drynarioides at the Ka’upulehu Preserve in North Kona.

The Artist’s Story: Lesley Randall

The pen and ink technique I use is the traditional form for scientific botanical illustration. Pen and ink allows one to show very fine details that aid in describing a species or in identifying one. Accuracy is of prime importance, but I try to create a piece of beauty as well. I use both the stipple and cross-hatch styles for shading. Once I have completed my pencil sketches, I transfer the drawing to illustration board using tracing paper. First I draw all the outlines in ink, then detail each piece of the drawing.

More of the plant’s story and the artist’s story can be found in the exhibit catalog, available at the exhibition venues or online from the ASBA.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Small Whorled Pagonia, Watercolor by Beverly Simone, US

Isotria medeoloides

Listings: Threatened, Federal Endangered Species Act; Endangered in 17 States; Endangered, Canada

The Plant’s Story

Although widely distributed in the eastern US, the small whorled pagonia is considered imperiled throughout its range and has disappeared from several states where it historically occurred. Since its colonies tend to be small, an entire site can be lost with the construction of one rural home. In addition to residential and commercial development, some logging practices, and off-road vehicle damage are its main threats. Ranging from Canada south to Georgia, about 80% of Isotria medeoloides’s population occurs in New Hampshire and Maine. There has been no sign of it in recent history in New York, Maryland, Missouri, and Vermont. Thanks to federal and other funding sources, considerable information has been gathered on the status and life history of the small whorled pagonia by groups such as the New England Wild Flower Society. Volunteers collect data and monitor rare plants in the field, remove invasive species, perform plant surveys, and work to raise awareness of rare plants.

The Artist’s Story: Beverly Simone

David VanLuven, Hudson River Estuary Landscape Director of The Nature Conservancy was kind enough to put me in touch with Sara Cairns, Ph.D. Sara, Data Manager and Biologist for the New Hampshire Natural Heritage Bureau in Concord.  She has done extensive research on Isotria medeoloides, and not only generously shared her knowledge and photos, but graciously answered my many questions. With her help, I was able to bring my small whorled pagonia painting “alive”.

More of the plant’s story and the artist’s story can be found in the exhibit catalog, available at the exhibition venues or online from the ASBA.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Louisiana Quillwort, Watercolor by Lee McCaffree, US

Isoetes louisianensis
Listing: Endangered, Federal Endangered Species Act

The Plant’s Story

Quillworts are considered to be descendents of very ancient plants. They are aquatic plants that reproduce by spores located at the base of the leaves. Louisiana quillwort’s habitat is sand and gravel bars along backwater stream banks in woodlands in a few sites in Louisiana and Mississippi. Threats to their survival are many, but they all result in altered stream quality and dynamics. Feral hogs, beaver dams, timber harvests, sand and gravel mining, off road vehicles, roads, and stream dredging and channeling are the culprits. The plant was federally listed as endangered in 1996.

The Artist’s Story: Lee McCaffree

I became a volunteer at Mercer Arboretum and Botanic Gardens in Houston and worked with native plants. Meanwhile I had started to create a series of threatened and endangered plant paintings for an exhibit at the Royal Horticultural Society in the UK. I went to several sites in the wild to photograph and sketch. I painted at Mercer during the time they were establishing the Endangered Species Garden, which has become an important showplace for many endangered and threatened plants. Mercer is the primary custodian of this plant for the Center for Plant Conservation. Mercer’s conservation program cultivated 70 quillworts rescued by the Louisiana Natural Heritage Office in 2002. They have been successfully propagated and now number over 600. When the series was complete, my “Plants in Peril” paintings helped promote the Endangered Species Garden.

More of the plant’s story and the artist’s story can be found in the exhibit catalog, available at the exhibition venues or online from the ASBA.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Goldenseal, Watercolor by Gillian Harris, US

Hydrastis canadensis
Listings: CITES Appendix II; Endangered, Connecticut, Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersy, Vermont

The Plant’ Story

Once abundant in the forests of the eastern US, Goldenseal has long been collected for its medicinal properties and is still sold as an herbal remedy. As early as the 1880s, over-collecting and loss of woodland habitat led to some concern over the plant’s survival. It wasn’t until the 1990s that it began to be listed by some states as an endangered species. Pressures on plants collected for sale, such as mosses, ferns, ginseng and goldenseal are contributing to their dwindling numbers. Added to this, goldenseal’s forest habitat has been fragmented from development of all types.

The Artist’s Story: Gillian Harris

Goldenseal, native to my area of southern Indiana, grows readily in the woodland shade garden here, spreading via its yellow-orange rhizomes. I now have a small patch that has expanded from a single rescued plant I bought at an Indiana Native Plant and Wildflower Society sale. I chose to feature it in the fruiting stage, when its leaves are fully expanded and the habit is more evident. I also wanted to include the root, which is beautiful in its own right and possesses the alkaloids that have made this plant a widely-collected medicinal herb. I rinsed the soil from the root and took several photographs of it before replanting it in my garden.

More of the plant’s story and the artist’s story can be found in the exhibit catalog, available at the exhibition venues or online from the ASBA.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Hibiscus, Colored Pencil by Wendy Hollender, US

Hibiscadelphus distans, Hibiscus brackenridgei, H. kiokio ssp.saintjohnianus, H. clayi
Listings: Endangered, Federal Endangered Species Act, Hibiscus clayi, H. brackenridgei, and Hibiscadelphus distans; Species of concern, Federal Endangered species Act, Hibiscus kokio ssp. Saintjohnianus

The Plant’s Story

Hawaii is home to some of the most beautiful native members of the cotton family (Malvaceae). The ones pictured here are also some of the most endangered. Hibiscus clayi, (lower left) one of Kauai’s rarest. H. brackenridgei, (upper right) is uncommon but found throughout the archipelago. H. kokio ssp. Saintjohnianus (lower right) is a beautiful yellowish orange rarity known only from a few locations in northwestern Kauai. Hibiscadelphus distans (upper left) is an endangered cousin with a tiny population in Kauai’s spectacular Waimea Canyon. All these rare native flowering shrubs are struggling in the wild, but thrive in the living collections of the National Tropical Botanical Garden. (courtesy of Dr. David Burney, Director of Conservation, Living Collections and Horticulture NTBG)

The Artist’s Story: Wendy Hollender

In February of 2008 I spent a month in Hawaii. While there I hoped to work on a series on endangered plants for consideration in this exhibition. I spent a week doing field sketches of these and other endangered plants and began these four drawings, which I completed back in New York.

More of the plant’s story and the artist’s story can be found in the exhibit catalog, available at the exhibition venues or online from the ASBA.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Large Witch Alder, Watercolor by Rose Pellicano, US

Fothergilla major
Listing: Threatened, Tennessee, Georgia

The Plant’s Story

Fothergilla major is a rare shrub of the southern Appalachians, favoring well-drained acid soils in mountain woods. In the wild, although it has a pretty broad range, it is not common anywhere, being sparsely dispersed. Its bottlebrush-like flowers are composed of long yellow stamens with long filaments. Its fragrance and autumn color add to the visual interest of the spring flowers. Dr. Fothergill, physician, naturalist, and philanthropist, had a garden in Essex, England, in which he grew “a variety of most curious plants”, according to Linnaeus, who named this genus after him.

The Artist’s Story: Rose Pellicano

Although I had never seen Fothergilla major, in my research on endangered plants I found that a specimen grew at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. I’ve been working with the Brooklyn Botanic Garden for ten years, as one of the artists in its Florilegium project. Established in 2000, the Florilegium is a project to document Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s living collections through botanical art. Artists from around the country have contributed 175 artworks to the project.

More of the plant’s story and the artist’s story can be found in the exhibit catalog, available at the exhibition venues or online from the ASBA.

Links to other Florilegium projects: Chelsea Physic Garden, Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney, Australia, Filoli, Woodside, CA and Highgrove Estate of HRH Prince of Wales

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Ghost Orchid, Watercolor, Body Color on Vellum by Kelly Leahy Radding, US

Dendrophylax lindenii
Listing: Endangered, Preservation of Native Flora of Florida Act

The Plant's Story

The ghost orchid of the Everglades seems hidden from sight when not in flower. It has no leaves and uses its roots to collect both water and sunlight. Its white flowers appear to float in the air, hence its nickname. The ghost orchid’s range includes humid areas of Florida and Cuba. Found in secluded groves of deep swamps, it is pollinated by the giant sphinx moth. This dependence on a specific pollinator and the pollinator’s dependence on a specific orchid in turn, leads to increased susceptibility to habitat alterations. The deep swamps of the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge shelter the gohost orchid. Management of the Refuge is focused on providing suitable panther habitat, and that means restoration of its functional ecosystem and its native plant communities. Also located in Florida, the American Orchid Society is the world’s largest organization devoted to the huge family of orchids, estimated to contain more than 30,000 species.

The Artist’s Story: Kelly Leahy Radding

I wanted to portray this plant as otherworldly, or ‘ghostly’. I started it with a graphite under-drawing from which I could then develop the roots growing out of the gray of the graphite into full watercolor. The white body color, layered with watercolor for the colored portions, had the necessary opacity to give the illusion of the flower appearing out of the calfskin vellum background. I wanted the flower to have an ethereal quality; to appear as if it materialized from the background like a ‘ghost’.

More of the plant’s story and the artist’s story can be found in the exhibit catalog, available at the exhibition venues or online from the ASBA.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Yellow Lady’s Slipper, Watercolor by Kathleen Garness, US

Cypripedium parviflorum
Listings: Large variety Endangered, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Washington; Small variety Endangered, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island

The Plant’s Story

There are about a dozen species of Cypripedium in North America between Mexico and the Arctic. They are all pollinated by luring insects into their “slipper” pouches. Several states offer blanket protection to all orchids, because, like ferns, they are often poached from the wild by gardeners and horticulturists. Conversion of natural areas into housing, agricultural and industrial developments, encroachment by brush and invasive species and changes in hydrology are all contributing to their diminishing numbers. In Illinois, the small yellow lady’s slipper has been tracked by the Department of Natural Resources since 1976, with the Chicago Botanic Garden’s rare plant monitoring program Plants of Concern following it from 2001 to the present.

The Artist’s Story: Kathleen Garness

Working in the field studying rare plants brings its own set of issues. Among them are a site’s fragility as well as its confidentiality, insects and wet conditions, bright sun and changing light. One must be very careful not to compact the soil or trample the plants and seedlings. Because of the length of time necessary to complete the painting, I worked from a variety of reference materials in addition to life drawings: herbarium material from Morton Arboretum and my own photographs of the species. Many hours were invested in preliminary studies, sending sketches to researchers for comments and approval before finalizing the painting.

More of the plant’s story and the artist’s story can be found in the exhibit catalog, available at the exhibition venues or online from the ASBA.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Pink Lady’s Slipper, Moccasin Flower, Watercolor by Catherine Kopper, US

Cypripedium acaule
Listings: Endangered, Illinois; Commercially Exploited, Endangered, Tennessee

The Plant’s Story

Cypripedium acaule, a large, showy wildflower, is one of the most recognizable wild orchids preferring haunts of acidic dry to wet forests, bogs, and wetland edges. Specific habitat requirements of Cypripedium acaule make it difficult to transplant probably due to its mutualistic relationship with specific mycorrhizal fungi in the soil; if those fungi are absent, the plant will decline then die. The fungi help the orchid take up nutrients from the soil and surrounding trees, and the orchid contributes carbon it photosynthesizes to the fungus. Once established in a place it likes, with a large root system, the moccasin flower can live for decades. The pink color and sweet scent of the lady’s slipper flower attract bees for pollination.

The Artist’s Story: Catherine Kopper

I have lived in Pembroke, Massachusetts since 1984 and each spring I have observed Cypripedium acaule, the pink lady’s slipper, blossom in a small wooded area behind my house. As soon as I saw the leaves I began to observe its progress and made some rough sketches. I also photographed the plants that I planned to paint. I prefer to work from the specimen so during a few days of good weather I sat outside and worked on my composition. I then returned to my studio to make a final drawing that I transferred to my watercolor paper.

More of the plant’s story and the artist’s story are included in the exhibit catalog, available at the exhibition venues or online from the ASBA.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Santa Cruz Cypress, Watercolor & Colored Pencil by Maria Cecilia Freeman, US

Cupressus abramsiana
Listings: Endangered, Federal Endangered Species Act; Endangered, California

The Plant’s Story

The endangered Santa Cruz Cypress, Cupressus abramsiana, is found only in the coastal Santa Cruz Mountains of central California, where it grows in gravelly, sandy soils above the fog belt, with chaparral and other evergreen species. This tree, once abundant, succumbed over the years to vineyard and home development, and road building. Only five populations totaling a few thousand individuals remain, all within a 15-mile stretch of the coast. It was Federally listed in 1987. It is still threatened by competition with non-native plants such as pampas grass and French broom, insect infestation and hybridization with other cypress species.

The Artist’s Story: Maria Cecilia Freeman

I live ten minutes from two of the remaining populations of Cupressus abramsiana. When I set out to study the cypress, I contacted our local chapter of the California Native Plant Society. Its Conservation Committee Chair and Coordinator of Research at the University of California Santa Cruz Arboretum helped me distinguish this cypress from other more common species, showed me specimen plants at the Arboretum, and allowed me to take home cuttings with cones to study and draw in detail. I visited the trees repeatedly to study their branching habit, bark, leaves and cones as the seasons changed.

More of the plant’s story and the artist’s story can be found in the exhibit catalog, available at the exhibition venues or online from the ASBA.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Pima Pineapple Cactus, Pen and Ink by Joan McGann, US

Coryphantha robustispina
Listings: Endangered, Federal Endangered Species Act; CITES Appendix II; Highly Safeguarded, Arizona

The Plant’s Story

The small range of this cactus (350 square miles) encompasses desert grasslands between 2300’ and 5000’ in Sonora, Mexico and in Pima and Santa Cruz Counties in Arizona. Even in these regions, they are very sparsely distributed. Urban development is the primary threat to this cactus. Since its listing as endangered in 1993, several residential and retail developments have been constructed where Pima pineapple cactus made its home. Residential and retail developments affect more land than the actual footprint of the homes and yards; drainage effects can be substantial. The increasing human presence causes ancillary effects such as hiking, biking, ATV use, and pet incursions as well as introduction of non-native plant species. The Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix and the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum in Tucson have been actively involved in the conservation of this species. ASDM has recently been engaged by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to conduct the Pima pineapple cactus’s monitoring on an ongoing basis on lands set aside specifically for its habitat.

The Artist’s Story: Joan McGann

The Arizona Sonora Desert Museum and the Desert Museum Art Institute in Tucson are unique in that they are a botanical garden, a zoo, a natural history museum and research facility as well as a center for natural history art. Museum staff made their live collections of rare plant species available to me. I was allowed to sketch in the plant nursery and photograph the plant on several different occasions. They kept me apprised of the budding and blooming activity so that the flower could be studied, sketched and photographed.

More of the plant’s story and the artist’s story can be found in the exhibit catalog, available at the exhibition venues or online from the ASBA.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Pitcher’s Thistle, Pen and Ink by Derek Norman, US

Cirsium pitcheri
Listings: Threatened, Federal Endangered Species Act; Endangered, Canada (SARA)

The Plant’s Story

Pitcher’s thistle, Cirsium pitcheri, is one of many rare or declining species inhabiting dunes of the western Great lakes region. Fine wooly hairs on its stems and leaves are an adaptation to its beach environment so that it can retain water and reflect the sun. Many thistles are considered invasive. However, Pitcher’s thistle’s adaptation to its specific environment means it does not diverge from its favored locales. Pitcher’s thistle is vulnerable to habitat loss by shoreline development, dune stabilization projects, trampling by ATVs and foot traffic. Scientists have learned that isolated colonies of plants, like animals, can become increasingly genetically narrow in a process called genetic drift, further weakening their ability to remain robust and reproduce.

The Artist’s Story: Derek Norman

After spending approximately five years in search of a specimen, finally, with the help and assistance of Marlin Bowles, Plant Conservation Biologist, Morton Arboretum, and Dr. Tim Bell, Chicago State University, I was able to find a suitable plant. In the early summer of 2007 a highly detailed pencil drawing was completed over two sweltering, hot humid days in the company of biting flies, a colony of ants and the occasional attacking red-winged blackbird. I then began to render the drawing in ink, first establishing the outline, then slowly inking in and adding the detail with a “stipple” pen technique.

More of the plant’s story and the artist’s story can be found in the exhibit catalog, available at the exhibition venues or online from the ASBA.