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, detail magnification, and all features of the plants life cycle 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. Thanks to the generosity of Keith and Brenda Taylor funds are available for 60 pieces. Artists have been recruited from The Sonoran Desert Florilegium Program and Southwest Society of Botanical Artists to participate in the Florilegium’s creation.  Original artwork is accessioned into the UA Library Special Collections where they are archived and stored, publicized and 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.  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.



View the archive of illustrations juried and acquired by the University of Arizona Campus Arboretum.

These pieces have been curated into the UA Library Special Collections:

Interested in contributing as an artist? All plants are currently reserved. Check back in July 2022 for openings.

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


Related Articles of Interest:

A Florilegium of The Joseph Wood Krutch Garden at The University of Arizona

Student of an Arid Land: Joseph Wood Krutch and the Sonoran Desert