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Postings are excerpts from the exhibition catalog edited by Carol Woodin

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Mortoniodendron, Pen, Brush, and Ink by Alice Tangerini, US

Mortoniodendron uxpanapense

Listing: Newly described, not yet listed. Using IUCN Red List criteria it is critically endangered.

The Plant’s Story:

Mortoniodendron uxpanapense was named for the place it was collected in the rainforest of Uxpana, in the state of Veracruz, Mexico along a steep rocky limestone drainage that seasonally becomes flooded. The genus Mortoniodendron represents a group of tropical trees of which only nine species had been described.

The Artist’s Story: Alice Tangerini (link to NPR interview)

My illustration of Mortoniodendron uxpanaense began as do many of my drawings here in the Botany Department of the National Museum of Natural History, with a request for a drawing to accompany the publication of a new species. I received the plant as a series of four herbarium specimens. The first step in my drawing process was to make photocopies of the herbarium specimens. By tracing the photocopies the plant can be rendered at natural size. After the finished pencil sketches were completed and arranged on the plate, the final drawing was inked with brush and pen.

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.