TreasuredTrees Botanical artist Masumi Yamanaka, horticulturist Christina Harrison and botanist Martyn Rix collaborate to write Treasured Trees, an introduction to the tree collection at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

The book begins with Christina Harrison’s interesting story about the history of Kew, a topic she knows well. Harrison wrote a dissertation about the history of Kew’s trees and holds a MA in Garden History. Currently she writes educational material for the Garden and serves as the editor of Kew magazine. In the book’s introduction Harrison writes about the popularity of botany in 16th-century Europe, talks about the tree collectors of this era, and explains how Kew evolved to become the public garden it is today.

Following the introduction is a survey of twenty-two of Kew’s finest trees. Masumi Yamanaka’s illustrations and Martyn Rix’s historical accounts of each tree will prompt you to add a visit to Kew to your bucket list, if it isn’t on this list already.

Below is a list of trees featured in this book, plus small hints of fascinating history as shared by Rix. To learn much more about the history of each tree, pick up a copy of this book at your local independent bookstore.

Kew’s Treasured Trees

  • Sweet chestnut (Castanea sativa), a tree once valued for charcoal production.
  • Cedar of Lebanon (Cedrus libani), a tree celebrated for its strength and age.
  • Japanese pagoda tree (Styphnolobium japonicum), one of Kew’s original trees, planted in 1762.
  • Maidenhair tree (Ginkgo biloba), a tree species dating back to the early Jurassic.
  • Black locust tree (Robinia pseudoacacia), a tree grown in England as early as 1634 by John Tradescant.
  • Oriental plane (Platanus orientalis), a tree often depicted in Indian paintings.
  • Lucombe oak (Quercus x hispanica ‘Lucombeana’), a hybrid between the cork oak and the Turkey oak planted in the late 1700s.
  • Tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera), a tree once widespread in Europe before the last ice ages.
  • Turner’s oak (Quercus x turneri), the result of a rare cross between a holm oak and an English oak.
  • Corsican pine (Pinus nigra sups. laricio), the source of the rosin applied to bows used by violinists and cellists and the source of turpentine too!
  • Stone pine (Pinus pinea), a tree planted at Kew just as Sir William Hooker began to develop the garden as a scientific collection.
  • Chestnut-leaved oak (Quercus castaneifolia), a rare oak collected in Azerbaijan.
  • Giant sequoia and coast redwood (Sequoiadendron giganteum and Sequoia sempervirens), large impressive temperate trees introduced to England.
  • Armand’s pine (Chinese white pine) (Pinus armandii), a tree discovered by a plant hunter and introduced in cultivation in 1895.
  • Handkerchief tree (dove tree) (Davidia involucrata), a tree whose inflorescences feature large white bracts.
  • Indian horse chestnut (Aesculus indica), a tree Masumi Yamanaka painted in all stages of its life cycle; don’t miss this 9-page spread.
  • Bhutan pine (Pinus wallichiana), native to the Himalayas.
  • Nikko maple (Acer maximowiczianum), named after a Russian botanist who discovered the tree in 1860.
  • Indian bean tree (southern catalpa) (Catalpa bignonioides), native to Alabama and Mississippi, also present in Florida, Georgia and Louisiana.
  • Goat horn tree (Carrierea calycina), produces horn-like fruit.
  • Bogong gum (Eucalyptus chapmaniana), native to New South Wales and Victoria in Australia.
  • Sapphire dragon tree (Paulownia kawakamii), named after the daughter of Czar Paul I of Russia.

Treasured Trees features 40 paintings by Masumi Yamanaka. To view a selection of these paintings, visit the Kew Gallery.

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Hortus botanicus Leiden

Founded in 1590, the Hortus botanics Leiden is the oldest botanic garden in the Netherlands. Included in its historic collection are plants from Asia, Europe and South Africa. Research on plant species continues to this day and the Garden plays an important role in the cultivation and preservation of endangered species.

    Summer Botanical Art Workshop with Anita Walsmit Sachs
    April 11-15, 2016
    Create accurate sketches and record the development of plants or individual structures in black & white or color. The course itinerary follows:

    • Day 1 – Introductions, garden tour, afternoon focus on pencil drawing
    • Day 2 – Learn about materials used by botanical illustrators, receive instruction about paint, color mixing and composition.
    • Day 3 – Transfer drawings to watercolor paper, begin painting
    • Day 4 & 5 – Continue painting, daily discussion, individual attention.

    Cost: €395,00
    Includes morning coffee, brasserie lunch and afternoon drinks. Information about payment and lodging will be provided upon registration. A small optional assignment will be assigned before the workshop begins.

    To register, contact Anita.

About Anita Walsmit Sachs

Anita Walsmit Sachs is the former director of the art department and former scientific illustrator at the National Herbarium in the Netherlands at the University of Leiden. She is an award-winning artist who has received two gold medals from the Royal Horticultural Society and whose work is included in the Highgrove Florilegium, a historic collection featuring selected plants growing at HRH The Prince of Wales’ home at Highgrove in Gloucestershire. In 2006, Anita and some of her students formed the Dutch Society of Botanical Artists.

Anita was the featured guest in January 2013. Read an interview with Anita and her conversation with ArtPlantae readers here.

This month the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies at UCLA will host a weekend conference focusing on the traditional knowledge of the therapeutic uses of plants. Co-organized by Alain Touwaide, this conference will bring together specialists from various disciplines involved in the study of medical traditions and will foster cross-disciplinary studies between medicine and the humanities.

The weekend conference will begin on Saturday, February 27 with a keynote lecture by Alain Touwaide titled, “Medical Traditions: Knowledge in the Making”. This will be followed by sessions about medicinal plants, herbals, culture and medicine. The conference concludes on Sunday, February 28.

A summary of planned presentations follows.

Conference Highlights

  • Aspirin in Antiquity? Or Principles and Practices of Retrospective Pharmacognosy
  • Medicine Box and Dining Table: Uses of Exotic Plants in Ancient Greece and Rome
  • Medicinal Plants from Monastery Medicine for the 21st Century
  • Tracing Drug Trajectories in the Early Modern Netherlands: Evidence from Newspaper Advertisements
  • The De la Cruz-Badiano Manuscript of 1552: America’s First Herbal in the 21st Century
  • More than Chemistry: Cultural Contexts for Healing and Well-being for First Peoples of Northwestern North America
  • Ayurveda Pharmacology: An ancient paradigm, modern relevance
  • The Chinese Botanico-Medical Tradition
  • Imperialism, Modern Pharmacology and Traditional Medicine: Rudolf Kobert (1854-1918) and the Pharmakologisches Institut in Dorpat
  • Traditional Chinese Medicine: An Ancient Treasure for the World Beyond Artemisinin
  • Future application of Traditional Medical Knowledge intrinsically linked to Conservation of Culture and Biodiversity in Geographical Origins of Wild Medicinal Plants: The case of Nanwuweizi from the Giant Panda Habitat

For conference details and to register, go to Medical Traditions for the 21st Century.

This event if free and open to the public. Registration is required.
Seating is limited.

Reserve Your Seat Today

For the past three years, Gaynor Dickeson has worked diligently to raise the profile of contemporary botanical art in Norway. She has done so successfully through the botanical art holidays she leads on the banks of the Oslo Fjord. Gaynor invites you to join her on the next holiday workshop scheduled for this summer.

Here is what’s new at Classes Near You > Norway:

Botanical Art Workshop Holiday in Norway 2016

June 24 – July 1, 2016

Award-winning botanical artist Gaynor Dickeson will lead a botanical art workshop in Norway in 2016. Travel to the banks of the Oslo Fjord and spend your mornings immersed in botanical art.

Study botanical art every morning after breakfast from Saturday through Thursday. Afternoons are free to explore. During the afternoon, Gaynor will be either in the studio and available for advice, or will be out guiding an afternoon visit to an UNESCO Geopark Area with masses of wild flowers.

Description of the class:

  • Botanical art/illustration demonstrations and individual instruction.
  • Maximum: 12 students
  • Suitable for new beginners and highly experienced botanical artists who want to improve in specific techniques. As classes are kept deliberately small, everyone can be accommodated.
  • Media: Colored pencil, watercolor and/or graphite

View Details/Register

Inland Empire residents with an interest in sustainable food systems and locally grown food have the opportunity to learn about local agriculture initiatives at the GrowRIVERSIDE conference.

The third annual GrowRIVERSIDE conference will be held on the campus of
UC Riverside on Monday, March 21, 2016. Tickets range in price from $55 to $90.

This year the conference will focus on:

  • The knowledge and tools required to create local food systems.
  • Economic development and community engagement.
  • Public policy related to food and agriculture.
  • Research projects conducted by undergraduate and graduate students.

Scheduled to speak at the conference are:

  • Karen Ross, Secretary, California Department of Food & Agriculture
  • Dr. Glenda Humiston, Vice President, UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources
  • A.G. Kawamura, Former Secretary of Agriculture and Third-generation Urban Farmer
  • Michael Shuman, Author/Attorney/Expert, Community Economics

In addition to the formal conference, several community events are planned. This week a community gathering for food entrepreneurs and community advocates will be held at Health’s Kitchen in Riverside. The schedule of community events includes:

    Community Gathering at Health’s Kitchen
    Network with food entrepreneurs, community advocates
    January 27, 2016
    6:00 – 8:30 pm

    Dinner in the KITCHEN
    Served by the Riverside Unified School District’s nutrition program, a leader in Farm-to-School Programs.
    January 30, 2016
    5:30 – 9:30 pm
    Buy Tickets ($75)

    Community Gathering at Health’s Kitchen
    Learn how to sell what you grow
    February 24, 2016
    6:00 – 8:30 pm

    Growers Forum at Citrus State Historic Park
    Citrus State Historic Park
    March 4, 2016
    8:00 – 11:00 am

    Citrus Circle Farm-to-Fork Dinner
    UCR Alumni Center
    March 21, 2016
    6:30 – 9:30 pm
    Buy Tickets ($75)

    Riverside Farms Tours (All Day)
    Citrus State Historic Park
    March 22, 2016
    9:00 am – 4:00 pm
    Buy Tickets ($80)

Learn more about the history of GrowRIVERSIDE and the history of Riverside’s urban agriculture movement at Seedstock. Seedstock is a social venture fostering the development of local food systems and helped to plan the first two GrowRIVERSIDE conferences.

Plants, Life, Riverside
is an interpretive project about plants in an urban environment. Where are the plants in Riverside? Let’s find out.

Donguri [Acorn, Quercus Linnaeus, Fagaceae], acrylic, gouache and pencil on paper by Kieta Yonezu (1943–), 1982, 30 × 46 cm, for Rureberukan, Donguri (Chiyodaku, Tokyo, Kanda Ogawamachi, 1983), HI Art accession no. 6838.

Donguri [Acorn, Quercus Linnaeus, Fagaceae], acrylic, gouache and pencil on paper by Kieta Yonezu (1943–), 1982, 30 × 46 cm, for Rureberukan, Donguri (Chiyodaku, Tokyo, Kanda Ogawamachi, 1983), HI Art accession no. 6838.

Great Expectations

The Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation
March 17 – June 30, 2016

By The Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation

The Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation presents “Great Expectations” from 17 March to 30 June 2016. There is great expectation in the promise and energy held within a bud or a seed, and phases of this continuous cycle of plant development are beautifully illustrated with collection items.

Join us Thursday, 17 March 2016, 5-7 p.m. for an opening reception. At 5:30 p.m. the curators will give a short introduction to the exhibition in the gallery.

Our annual Open House on Sunday, 26 June (1:00-4:30 p.m.) will include the talk “Forward into the past: The past, present and future of Carrie Furnaces” (1:30-2:30 p.m.) by Ronald A. Baraff, director of Historic Resources and Facilities, Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area, in which he will discuss how the arts, nature, preservation and aesthetics interplay with the historic at the Carrie Furnaces. Following the talk will be tours of the “Great Expectations” exhibition and the reading room (2:30-4:00 p.m.). This event is free and open to the public.

A tour of the landscape around the Carrie Furnaces in Rankin, PA, will be held on Saturday, 21 May, 11:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Please contact Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area (412-464-4020; info@riversofsteel.com) for more information and to purchase a ticket ($15).


“Great Expectations” will be on display on the 5th floor of the Hunt Library building at Carnegie Mellon University and will be open to the public free of charge. Hours: Monday–Friday, 9 AM–noon and 1–5 PM; Sunday, 1–4 PM (except 25–27 March, 1 May and 29–30 May). Hours subject to change, please call or email before your visit to confirm. For further information, contact the Hunt Institute at 412-268-2434.


Cabinet of curiosities

On display from 19 January to 30 June 2016 in the Cabinet of curiosities in the Hunt Institute lobby is a two-leaf fragment of a handwritten copy of the Macer Floridus estimated to be from the mid-12th century, as well as several early printed editions. Visit during normal business hours (Monday–Friday, 9 AM–noon and 1–5 PM) to see this fragment from our Archives, which is the oldest item in our collections, and the printed edition from 1477, which is the oldest printed book in our Library.

About the Institute

The Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation, a research division of Carnegie Mellon University, specializes in the history of botany and all aspects of plant science and serves the international scientific community through research and documentation. To this end, the Institute acquires and maintains authoritative collections of books, plant images, manuscripts, portraits and data files, and provides publications and other modes of information service. The Institute meets the reference needs of botanists, biologists, historians, conservationists, librarians, bibliographers and the public at large, especially those concerned with any aspect of the North American flora.

Artist and educator Louise O’Reilly will introduce new and experienced botanical artists to trees, flowers, pollinators in a series of workshops beginning next week.

Here is the latest at Classes Near You > England!

Capel Manor College

Botanical Illustration at Capel Manor College
Capel Manor College offers 3-day short courses in Botanical Illustration in Regent’s Park in the heart of central London and at Capel Manor in Enfield. Botanical artist and educator, Louise O’Reilly, offers students of all abilities the opportunity to improve their observational drawing skills and learn more about botanical subject matter. Students learn the basic skills required to create a beautiful and accurate botanical drawing including structural line drawing, drawing to scale, composition, applying tone, understanding directional light, color mixing and use of watercolor washes. Check website for more information.

Upcoming Classes:

  • Line Drawing with Pen and Ink, January 25-27, 2016
  • Trees in Flower, March 14-16, 2016
  • Summer Flowers and Pollinators, May 9-11, 2016
  • Roses, July 4-6, 2016

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