Scientific Illustration - A Lasting Means to Preserve Botanical History

Despite advances in technology in capturing botanical detail, scientific illustration retains its value as an effective medium and 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! When compiled into a collection representing the flora of an area, the illustrations are called a florilegia, which serve as a historical and scientific record of the species diversity. 


The Campus Arboretum has established a Florilegium of the Joseph Wood Krutch Garden by working with the Sonoran Desert Florilegium Program to collect and create botanical art that documents the scientific and aesthetic value of the Krutch Garden native plant collection.  The Sonoran Desert Florilegium program initiated the project with the production of several works of botanical art corresponding to the garden’s species.  With the establishment of this special collection, the Campus Arboretum has accessioned more than 50 plant species in the Krutch Garden with the aim of having all of the garden taxa illustratively documented.


The Campus Arboretum will be responsible for raising funds to purchase all artwork. The Sonoran Desert Florilegium Program will recruit artists to participate in the Florilegium’s creation, and also assist the Campus Arboretum with fundraising efforts.  Original artwork is accessioned into Special Collections where they are archived and permanently stored.  These pieces are publically available for loan and are exhibited by Special Collections in the Science Library and other campus locations.  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 SDFP websites as a virtual exhibit.  Each piece of artwork will conform to detailed specifications to ensure uniformity, quality, scientific and aesthetic value of the collection. To support this initiative, donate through our website.



Ever wonder how these amazing pieces are created? Take a short trip to peek at the process!


View the archive of illustrations juried and acquired by the University of Arizona Campus Arboretum donors. These pieces have been curated into the UA Library Special Collections. 



2015 Fall - Chris Bondante: Opuntia basilaris