The Joseph Wood Krutch Florilegium Project

The Campus Arboretum, in partnership with the Sonoran Desert Florilegium Program, has established a florilegium of the Joseph Wood Krutch Garden, the University of Arizona's most important historic garden, and an inspiring model of a sustainable urban landscape. 


What is a "florilegium" (floor-eh-LEE-gee-um)?

A collection of scientific illustrations documenting the plants in a special garden. 


Sounds old fashioned?

Despite advances in technology used to capture botanically significant details through photography and microscopy, scientific illustration retains great value as an effective educational resource simply because it encapsulates all important views and detail magnification in one small panel. Furthermore, botanical illustrations are masterfully created and exquisitely beautiful! As such, florilegia serve as important historical records, inspiring artistic expressions, and a useful scientific tool to record local and regional species diversity in perpetuity. Given the need for conservation and stewardship of plants in an increasingly urban world, this inspiring collection maintains the relevance of the ancient practice of florilegia.



Opuntia basiliaris by Chris Bondante


Here's what we're doing...

The project aims to create botanical art that documents the plant Sonoran native plant species collected and now growing in the historic Krutch Garden collection.  The initial inventory of the garden identified 65 unique plant species. Each of these species will be illustrated by professional scientific illustrators and botanical artists recruited from The Sonoran Desert Florilegium Program and Southwest Society of Botanical Artists. Each artist works with us to choose a species and, obtain guidance to ensure that each piece of artwork conforms to detailed specifications that ensure the uniformity, quality, scientific and aesthetic value of the collection. Artists each have a unique process, but all spend hundreds of hours studying herbarium and living specimens in the field and under the microscope, sketching. reading relevant botanical treatments, conferring with botanists, and laying out the botanical features on the plate. Along the way, artists consult with each other, botanical experts, and the director of the Campus Arboretum to obtain feedback and, make revisions before submitting to the jury for review. The jury meets several times each year, and those original works accepted into the florilegium are accessioned into the UA Library Special Collections. Here, they are archived but available for loan or exhibit. Artists retain copyrights to the originals, but UA Special Collections and UA Campus Arboretum will be permitted the option to create digital copies of the illustrations for display on the Campus Arboretum and other educational websites as a virtual exhibit.


The Florilegium Virtual Gallery:

To view the illustration, species description, and artist attribution, click on a photo. 


The Campus Arboretum will be responsible for raising funds to purchase all commissioned artwork. Thanks to the generosity of Keith and Brenda Taylor funds for artists’ commissions, framing, matting and exhibit costs. 

To support other initiatives like this, donate through our website. 


Meet the Artists

(Left-Right) Pauline Savage, Chris Bondante, Diane Inman, Joyce Peters, Karen Gengle, and Margaret Pope. For more information on each artist, click on their photo.









Special Thanks:

To Caitlin Brown, independent contractor who coordinated the Fall 2022 florilegium exhibit with gracious support for the digitization and installation lent by Meg Jackson Fox, Associate Curator Academic and Public Programs with the Center for Creative Photography, Albert Cahmaillard, Exhibition Specialist with the University of Arizona Museum of Art, David Huber, Technician with the University of Arizona School of Art Digital Studio, and Pamela Pelletier, Community Planner, with the University of Arizona Laboratory of Tree Ring Research.


Technical Project Details:

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