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Nelumbium speciosum, Willd. (Lotus) Featured Images Dated 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

New Zealand Flowers and fruit Marianne North Painting 721 Featured Images Dated Image

New Zealand Flowers and fruit Marianne North Painting 721

The spherical plant in the foreground is a small specimen of the "Vegetable. Sheep" ( Raoulia eximia, Hook.f.). It inhabits the mountains, growing as large and looking so much like a recumbent sheep at a little distance that shepherds

© RBG KEW

721, Art, Berries, Corynocarpus Laevigata, Edible Fruit, Fruit, Hookf, Marianne North, Metrosideros Tomentosa, New Zealand, New Zealand Flowers And Fruit, Oil, Painting, Plagianthus Lyallii, Raoulia Eximia, Rubus Australis, Trichomanes Reniforme, Vegetable Sheep, Veronica, Victorian

Robert Fortune Featured Images Dated Image

Robert Fortune

Robert Fortune (1812-1880) born in Berwickshire, Scotland, was a botanist and plant-hunter best known for smuggling tea plants out of China at the behest of the East India Company. Following the Treaty of Nanjing in 1842, Fortune was awarded the position of the Society's Collector in China, visiting the region on four occasions, remaining there for two or three years each time. In 1846, he published his journals as Three Years Wanderings in the Northern Provinces of China'. In 1848, he was tasked by the East India Company with collecting tea plants to establish plantations in India, breaking the Chinese monopoly. Disguising himself as a Chinese merchant, he travelled to the remote Fujian, Guangdong, and Jiangsu provinces, regions rarely explored by Westerners, beyond the permissible day's journey from the agreed European treaty ports. The ruling Chinese government had outlawed the purchase of tea plants, but Fortune was able to coordinate the shipment of more than 20, 000 plants and seedlings, in Wardian cases, to the Himalayas, effectively initiating the tea industry in India

© RBG KEW