Carl Friedrich Philipp von Martius’s Historia naturalis palmarum

Historia naturalis palmarum

Carl Friedrich Philipp von Martius’s Historia naturalis palmarum – in which all known genera of the palm family are illustrated and their biogeographies described – is considered a landmark botanical survey. Taking over 27 years to complete, the three-volume work contains 240 chromolithographic illustrations which survey 2,250 km of the Brazilian Amazon and its tributaries (oh, that number thing). Many illustrations are typical of their time but what stands out among familiar stylisations are Martius’s own curious illustrations of the cross-sectional architectures of trunks and brunches. Other graphical systems clearly define the palms signature mathematical morphologies, symmetries and phyllotaxial geometries. The illustrations have been collected in the Book of Palms by H. Walter Lack published by Taschen.

Historia naturalis palmarum

Historia naturalis palmarum

Historia naturalis palmarum

Historia naturalis palmarum

Historia naturalis palmarum

Historia naturalis palmarum

Historia naturalis palmarum

Historia naturalis palmarum

Historia naturalis palmarum

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‘You Really Do Not See a Plant Until You Draw it’

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