Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Ignaz Alberti: Hypericum perforatum




This hand-colored engraving by Ignaz Alberti of Hypericum perforatum, St John's wort, is in Volume One of Icones Plantarum by Ferdinand Vietz. It was published in 1800. Although information points to Alberti being the owner of a print shop in Vienna and associating with Free Masons, I've been able to discover little else about him. Is his name familiar to you?

In my maritime Pacific Northwest garden, Hypericum perforatum was a plant that ran rampant, that managed to thrive where little else would: in dry shade. I suppose that should have made me cherish it. Instead, I'm afraid I tended to curse its toughness. However, if you're looking for a plant to grow in acid soil and dry shade, this might be the ticket. N.b. that it is designated as a noxious weed in seven of the United States.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Sydenham Edwards: Echinacea purpurea





This illustration, which appears in Volume I of Curtis's Botanical Magazine, seems likely to have been made by Sydenham Edwards, but I can't say for sure.

A few facts about Sydenham Edwards

A few facts about Curtis's Botanical Magazine

Thursday, April 12, 2012

John Lindley: Rosa caucasea





John Lindley identified this rose in his work Rosarum monographia. It does not seem to be discussed aside from in this work. About this rose Lindley wrote:
The present plant maybe be usually distinguished by a very robust habit, broad and soft leaves, and flowers growing in bunches. The fruit is very large and its flesh is soft.
A few facts about John Lindley (1799-1865)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Matthias de l'Obel: Mentha romana



Icones stirpium, seu, Plantarum tam exoticarum, quam indigenarum -- Pictures of plants, or plants as well as foreign, and natives -- was published by Matthias de l'Obel in 1591. This woodcut shows Mentha spicata, commonly known as spearmint. John Stephenson and James Morss Churchill included a description of the plant in Medical Botany:
Spear Mint grows naturally in marshy places, and by the banks of rivers, but is more rarely met with in this state than [Mentha Piperita (peppermint)]... The leaves are of a lively green colour, about two inches and a half long...
A few facts about Matthias de l'Obel
1. He was born in 1538 Lille, France and died March 3, 1616 in Highgate, London.
2. He trained in Leuven and Montpellier as a physician.
3. Before he moved to England, he served as physician to William of Orange. He left the Netherlands to escape civil war.
4. In England, he became physician and botanist to James I.
5. Father Charles Plumier named the genus Lobelia for him.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Ethel Roskruge: Fritillaria



This simple drawing of Fritallia by Anne Ethel Roskruge appears in The Book of Old Fashioned Flowers by Harry Roberts. He dedicated the book, which was published in 1901, "To Homely Unaffected People Who Appreciate Homely Unassuming Flowers". I believe this is Fritillaria meleagris.

A few facts about Anne Ethel Roskruge
1. Her dates seem to be 1875—1940; in any event, she was baptized at St Keverne, Cornwall in 1875.
2. She was born in St Keverne near Helston, Cornwall.
3. Her first exhibit was at the Royal Cornwall Polytechnic Society in Falmouth, Cornwall in 1900. She showed a painting at the Royal Academy in 1910.
4. She was perhaps best known as a miniaturist.
5. She illustrated a number of small books, including My Toys: the Humpty Dumpty Toy Book.

A couple of interesting links about Fritillaria
  • A church in Darlington, England celebrates Fritillary Sunday - including a video

  • A page about Fritillaria meleagris, which includes a quotation by Oscar Wilde

  • The Missouri Botanical garden has information about Fritillaria meleagris.