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Baobab near the bank of the Lue (Adansonia digitata) Featured Botanical Art Image

Baobab near the bank of the Lue (Adansonia digitata)

Oil on canvas. Inscribed in paint on verso of canvas BAOBAB near the bank of the Lue, a tributary of the Zambesi River above Kabrabasi. It seems to consist of three original stems now united as they have grown up. The whole group is 17 yards in circumference and two of the stems now united In 18 feet from the ground 13 yards. Novr 27 1858'. The painting was executed around seven months later at Tete. This particular tree was observed by Baines while accompanying Dr. David Livingstone on his Zambesi Expedition. Livingstone set out to explore the rapids at Kebrabasa, finally reaching them on the 9th November 1858. Of the surrounding topography he noted, The country, between Tette and Panda Mokua, where navigation ends, is well wooded and hilly on both banks...Conspicuous among the trees, for its gigantic size, and bark coloured exactly like Egyptian syenite, is the burly Baobab. It often makes other trees of the forest look like mere bushes in comparison

© RBG KEW

Urania speciosa, Willd.(Ravenala madagascariensis, Travellers Palm') Featured Botanical Art Image

Urania speciosa, Willd.(Ravenala madagascariensis, Travellers Palm')

Watercolour on paper, undated (late 18th, early 19th century). Hand painted copy of an illustration commissioned by William Roxburgh (1751-1815). In Flora Indica Roxburgh recalls In 1802 three plants of this elegant tree were brought from the Island of Mauritius by Capt. Tennant to the Botanic Garden at Calcutta. They were planted in different soils, and situations. That which was in a very moist place, and in a rich brownish black soil, throve more luxuriantly than the other two, though in a soil equally rich but lighter coloured, much higher and drier; the former flowered for the first time about the close of 1806 and again in September, 1807

© RBG KEW