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Home > Botanical Art > William Roxburgh

William Roxburgh Gallery

Art commissioned from Indian artists by the author of "Flora Indica; or Descriptions of Indian Plants", 1820

Choose from 93 images in our William Roxburgh collection.


Nelumbium speciosum, Willd. (Lotus) Featured William Roxburgh Image

Nelumbium speciosum, Willd. (Lotus)

Watercolour on paper, no date (late 18th early 19th century). Hand painted copy of an illustration commissioned by William Roxburgh. In his Flora Indica, Roxburgh tells of his familiarity with two sorts of this plant from the coast of Coromandel, one with rose-coloured flowers, the other with white ones, and with a third variety brought from China, with smaller rosy flowers. He describes how they grow in such sweet water lakes and how, on the coast they flower all year. In Bengal they flower during the hot season, April, May and June. Roxburgh writes also about the radical joints which, in old plant, are swelled into tubulosities of various size, ...from them issue many fungous fibres, and from the upper part and the interior part of these tubulosities issue one, two, or more leaves and flowers...'. Roxburgh then reports that the tender shoots of the roots are eaten by the natives, boiled or in their curries. The seeds are eaten raw, roasted and boiled. The natives also use the leaves as plates from where to eat. This beautiful plant, known with their Sanscrit name Padma, is considered holy and often used in religious ceremonies. The specimen here figured is the pink variety

© The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

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

© The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

Areca catechu, L. (Betelnut, pinang, areca nut) Featured William Roxburgh Image

Areca catechu, L. (Betelnut, pinang, areca nut)

Watercolour on paper, no date (late 18th, early 19th century). Hand painted copy of an illustration commissioned by William Roxburgh (1751-1815). Roxburgh reports in his Flora Indica': Where this tree grows wild I cannot say from my own observation, but it is cultivated in the warmer parts of Asia, and is in flower most part of the year. It is the most beautiful palm we have in India. The seed is usually wrapoped in a wad of betel pepper leaves and chewed, promoting saliva and releasing arecaine, a mild narcotic. A brown dye can also be obtained from this plant

© The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew