Skip to Main Content
Western Libraries

Botanical Illustration Resources: A Selection of Books using Botanical Illustration

A Selected Bibliography created for the 1999 Northwest Botanical Illustration Symposium (updated frequently) Compiled by Julene Sodt, of the Western Libraries, Western Washington University, Bellingham WA

A Selection of Books using Botanical Illustration

Historical Books at WWU

Collins, Minta, ed. A Medieval Herbal: A Facsimile of British Library Egerton MS 747. London: British Library, 2003. Facsimile of an Italian herbal, ca. 1300. It contains a vast corpus of information about plants and their medicinal uses, inherited from Greek, Roman, and Arabic sources, and is illustrated with over 400 botanical paintings. (Rare Book Collection, QK99 .A1 T7 Oversize).

Basilius Besler, Florilegium: The Book of Plants. Cologne: Taschen, 2016. Facsimile reproduction. Consists of plates from Besler's Hortus Eystettensis, originally published in 1613. (Rare Book Collection, QK41 .B53)

Leonhart Fuchs, The New Herbal of 1543. Cologne: Taschen, 2016. Features over 500 illustrations, excerpted facsimiles of Fuchs's original texts, and an essay exploring the history of healing herbs. (Rare Book Collection, QK41 .F53)

James Bolton, Filices Britannicae: An History of the British Proper Ferns. Leeds: John Binns, 1785. (Rare Book Collection, QK527 .B65 Oversize)

E. J. Lowe, Ferns: British and Exotic. London: Groombridge and Sons, 1856-60. Eight volumes of illustrations, 480 color plates. (Rare Book Collection, QK523 .L9)

Daniel Cady Eaton, Ferns of North America. Salem, Mass.: S. E. Cassino, 1879-79? (Rare Book Collection, QK525 .E14)

George Schneider, The Book of Choice Ferns. London: J. Upcott Gill, 1892-94. (Rare Book Collection, QK523 .S36)

North America

Art, Henry W. The Wildflower Gardener’s Guide: Pacific Northwest, Rocky Mountain, and Western Canada Edition. Pownal, VT: Storey Communications, 1990.
        Art shows how to grow 33 of the most popular wildflower species to create esthetically pleasing, easy to maintain, natural landscapes. Illustrated with 50 detailed botanical drawings and color photographs. 179 pages.

Chadde, Steve.  A Great Lakes Wetland Flora:  A Complete Guide to the Aquatic and Wetland Plants of the Upper Midwest.  Laurium, Michigan;  PocketFlora Press, 2002.
        648 pages.

Connor, Sheila. New England Natives. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1994. (QK 121 C66 1994 - Oversize)
        A "celebration of people and trees" filled with photographs, drawings, and colored plates. 274 pages.

Dowden, Anne Ophelia. Wild Green Things in the City: A Book of Weeds . Crowell, 1972.
        One of America's foremost botanical illustrators identifies common U.S. city "weeds" with informative text and detailed paintings. 56 pages.

Downie, Mary Alice, E. J. Revell (Illustrator), and Mary Hamilton.  And Some Brought Flowers:  Plants in a New World.  Toronto:  University of Toronto Press, 1980.
      And Some Brought Flowers features 70  full-color watercolors of plants discovered by early travelers to North America. Arranged in alphabetical order (from "Ash" to "Wintergreen"), each entry is accompanied by botanical descriptions and historical quotations describing the plants and reflecting on their uses, both practical and aesthetic. The result is a fascinating history of North American gardening customs, of the professional botanists traveling along the paths of the pioneers and of the settlers who responded with both astonishment and practical common sense to the rich variety of plant species they saw before them. - - -

Grierson, Mary. A Hawaiian Florilegium: Botanical Portraits from Paradise . Lawai, Kkauai, Hawaii: Honolulu: National Tropical Botanical Garden. Distributed by the University of Hawaii Press, 1996.
        Forty-three scientific illustrations of Hawaii’s flora by internationally acclaimed botanical artist Mary Grierson. Botanist Peter Green provides a narration of the interaction of plants and people, through ethnobotany and legends of the early Hawaiians, the taxonomic research of botanists past and present, and the history that brought an amazing mix of species to the Islands. 102 pages.

Hickman, James C. ed. The Jepson Manual; Higher Plants of California . Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993.
        Dr. Linda Ann Vorobik is the principal illustrator for the Jepson Manual, considered the most comprehensive resource and identification guide to approximately 8,000 varieties of native and naturalized California plants. 1400 pages.

Britton, Nathaniel Lord and Addison Brown. Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States and Canada. 3 vols. New York: Dover, 1970. (Ref. QK 117 .B8 113 AND Ref. QK 117 .G5 1952)
        This is a 3 volume facsimile of the 1913 edition, thought by many to be the best. Covers 4,666 species, including ferns; detailed line drawings. 680, 637 & 735 pages.

Ivey, Robert DeWitt. Flowering Plants of New Mexico. 4d ed. Albuquerque, RD & V  Ivey, 2003.
        A wildflower identification book with 573pages of text and drawings. There is a pen and ink drawing for each flower.

Junak, Steve. A Flora of Santa Cruz Island. Santa Barbara, CA: Santa Barbara Botanic Garden. California Native Plant Society, 1995.
        This flora includes all non-cultivated plants growing on Santa Catalina Island, both native and non-native. Each species is illustrated with line drawings by Dr. Linda Ann Vorobik. (A new edition is in the works.) 397 pages.

Marshall, Bessie Niemeyer.  With Paintbrush & Shovel.  Charlottesville:  University Press of Virginia, 2000.

Parker, Lucile. Southern Wildflowers. Gretna, LA: Pelican Pub., 1998.
        This work is both an art book and a botanical guide. 177 color illustrations. 144 pages.

Stones, Margaret, and Urbatsch, Lowell. Flora of Louisiana. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1991.
        This volume includes some 200 illustrations of flowers and conifers, including 60 color plates, from the Native Flora of Louisiana project. A note on botanical illustration is contributed by David Scrase. 220 pages. Stones's original watercolors have now been digitized and are available via the Louisiana Digital Library.

Wampler, Fred and Maryrose. Wildflowers of Indiana. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1989.
        Over 300 species of Indiana Wildflowers are illustrated in 80 full color plates of watercolors by Maryrose Wampler. Wampler has developed a painstaking technique of layering watercolors to produce very sharply detailed images. 177 pages.


Arnold, Marion, and John P. Rourke.   South African Botanical Art:  Peeling back the Petals.  Vlaeberg, South Africa:  Fernwood Press in Association with Art link, 2001.
A history of botanical illustration in South Africa with biographical information.  216 pages; colored illlustrations.

Blamey, Marjorie, and Christopher Grey Wilson. The Illustrated Flora of Britain and Northern Europe. London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1989.
        Blamey provides the illustrations for 2400 species. Plants are sometimes painted twice to show the habitat. 544 pages.

Bolnick, Doreen. A Guide to the Common Wild Flowers of Zambia and Neighboring Regions. London: Macmillan, 1995.
        This field guide was designed for the amateur botanist. Two hundred and twenty-one species are illustrated in watercolor and reproduced at half life-size. 74 pages.

Butler, Patricia.  Irish Botanical Illustrators & Floral Painters.  Woodbridge, Sufolk, England:  Antique Collector's Club, 2001.
Describes the contribution of over 70 artists working in Ireland as well as abroad. Many illustrations, mostly in color.

Elick, Don. Japonica Magnifica. Portland, Oregon: Timber Press, 1992.
        Considered the definitive book on the flowering plants of Japan. Illustrated by painter Raymond Booth, this folio-size volume was the basis for a national American Gallery tour of 85 works. 144 pages.

Fabian, Anita and Gerritt Germishuizen. Wild Flowers of Northern South Africa. Vlaeberg: Fernwood Press, 1997.
        Watercolor illustrations by Anita Famian complement the text creating a "showcase of botanical art" as well as a field guide.

Harding, Patrick, and Valerie Oxley.  Wild Flowers of the Peak District.  Sheffield;  Hallamshire, 2000.
        Identification guide to the wild flowers of the Peak District in England.

Hellum, A. K.  A Painter's Year in the Forests of Bhutan.  Honolulu:  University of  Hawaii Press, 2001.
        120 pages, colored illustrations.

Hewson, Helen J.  Australia:  300 Years of Botanical Illustration .  Woodbridge, Suffolk, England:  Antique Collectors Club, 2000.

Mark, Alan Francis. New Zealand Alpine Plants. Birkenhead, Auckland, N. Z.: Godwit, 1995.
        This work covers most of the approximately 600 vascular plants found in New Zealand above the treeline. Color paintings illustrate each plant description. 269 pages.

Morley, Brian P.HD., F.L.S. Wild Flowers of the World. New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1970. (QK 98.E93)
        Lavishly illustrated with the paintings of Barbara Everard. Over 1000 species are depicted often with enlarged details of primary parts. 192 color plates. 432 pages.

Noltie, Henry J.  The Dapuri Drawings:  Alexander Gibson and the Bombay Botanic Gardens.  Woodbridge:  Antique Collector's Club, 2002.
         240 pages; includes colored illustrations.

Stermer, Dugald. Vanishing Flora: Endangered Plants Around the World . New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1995.
        Stermer created this book in the style of an eighteenth or nineteenth-century flora. The seven page introduction puts the conservation of vascular plants in context, emphasizing how wildlife conservation so far has concentrated on the protection of endangered species of mammals and birds. The rest of the volume is comprised of full-page color illustrations of endangered plants, each species accompanied by a brief history, uses and status. 192 pages.

Stones, Margaret, illustrator. Winifred Curtis, text. The Endemic Flora of Tasmania, Part 1. London: Ariel Press: 1967. (QK 457 .S75 v. 1 - Oversize)
        The complete set of this work reports and documents some 200 species endemic to Tasmania. Each species has a color plate drawn from life.

Wise, Rosemary. A Fragile Eden: Portraits of the Endemic Flowering Plants of the Granitic Seychelles. Princeton University Press, 1998.
        Located a thousand miles off the coast of Africa, the 32 granite island called the Seychelles are home to plant species found nowhere else in the world. Botanical artist Rosemary Wise spent ten years painting the Seychelles’ unique plant life in its natural habitat. This book features Wise’s paintings along with her written descriptions of the plants. 192 pages.