A milestone in my botanical illustration journey

When a botanist discovers a new species of plant, they must publish a description in scientific literature.

Earlier this year I was asked by Alex Monro at the Natural History Museum to illustrate three new species of Pilea for a paper he was publishing describing these new species.

This paper has just been published in the journal Phytokeys and you can see my illustrations for the very first time in a real scientific journal! The full article can be found here.

I learned a huge amount doing these illustrations. I worked from dry herbarium specimens and used a dissecting microscope to see the smallest details. The flowers of these species are tiny - just a few mm across, and I had to boil the dried flowers in water so that they would open up so that I could see their structures.

These aren't the most obviously pretty plants, but seeing the microscopic features of a plant is always fascinating.

I'm looking forward to doing more illustrations in 2013, and will try and post as often as I can to share what I am working on.

Happy New Year!