It is the beginning of September and fall is definitely in the air. The leaves are starting to drop, so I thought it would be fun to curate a collection of wonderful botanical leaf prints.
All the vintage botanical leaf prints are from the book “The North American Sylva“. The book was published in Paris in 1819 and is also known as “A description of the forest trees of the United States, Canada and Nova Scotia.“
In the late 18th Century the French Government sent some botanists to North America to study their forests Andre Michaux and his son Francois-Andre.
The idea is that the botanist would find and identify tree species that could be introduced to France. Many of the French forests had been depleted by war and needed replacing.
One of the many books published on this research was the “The North American Sylva” and was believed to be the foundation of American forestry.
The book is full of gorgeous vintage botanical leaf prints by the French botany artists Pierre-Joseph Redouté and Pancrace Bessa.
Copyright Free Botanical Leaf Illustrations
Pierre-Joseph Redouté is often considered as one of the greatest botanical illustrators ever. He is famed for his beautiful floral illustrations in particular roses.
Redoute was born in 1759 and was the official court artist of Marie Antoinette. He continued painting throughout the French revolution and survived the upheaval to be supported by Napoleon’s wives.
Redouté was a prolific artist and had illustrations in over 50 books and had over 2,100 botanical illustrations published. He was nicknamed “the Raphael of flowers”.
The botanical leaf prints will be of a higher resolution. Just click on the title of the leaf illustration you would like and the jpeg will automatically download to your computer.
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Oak Tree Botanical Leaf Prints
White Oak (Quercus alba) gets its name from the colour of the finished wood. The Oaks wood is used to make barrels for both the aging of wine and Bourbon whiskey.
The tree can reach heights of 30m with a magnificent broad canopy. It is native to eastern and central North America. Specimens have been found to be over 450 years old.
Another oak that is native to eastern and central North America. However, the post oak (Quercus stellata) is much shorter than the white oak and only tends to grow to 15m.
This is a hardy slow-growing tree that can grow in dry poor soils. The tree is also resistant to rot, fire, and drought.
The chestnut oak (Quercus montana) is easily identified by its massively-ridged dark gray-brown bark, the thickest of any eastern North American oak. The wood from this oak tree is dense and therefore makes great firewood.
The dwarf chestnut oak is a shrub or small tree that typically only grows to 13–20 feet. Due to the small size of the tree, it isn’t cultivated for its wood. However, the acorns are sweet and are liked by both humans and wildlife.
The inner bark of the black oak contains a yellow pigment called quercitron, which was sold commercially in Europe until the 1940s.
Botanical Leaf Prints from Other Trees
Common walnut (Juglans regia) mature trees may reach 50 feet in height and breadth, and live more than 200 years, developing massive trunks more than 8 feet thick.
The Bitter Pecan (water hickory) is a dominant species in low floodplains the trees are being noted for their important contribution to that environment. Specifically their ability to cleanse drainage water and provide refuge for many threatened species of plants and animals.
The white maple also called the silver maple (Acer saccharinum) is one of the most common trees in the United States of America.
Even though the sap of this maple is sweet it’s not used to make syrup as other maple species are sweeter. However, the wood pulp is used for making paper. The lumber is light and easily worked so it is used in furniture making, flooring, musical instruments, crates, and tool handles.
Because of the silver maple’s fast growth, it is being researched as a potential source of biofuels.
The cucumber magnolia (Magnolia acuminata), is one of the largest magnolia trees and the most cold hardy. However, compared to other magnolia trees the flowers are not as impressive.
The wood this poplar is typical of the Populus family in its softness, weighing just 28 pounds per foot. It is used for things like plywood and interior parts of furniture.
Many of these leaves look totally different in the fall when they change color. Autumnal versions of many of these leaves can be found in this autumn leaf charts and prints.
I have plenty more botanical prints available to download on Pictureboxblue, such as these vintage ferns and:
- Woodland Vintage Botanical Prints
- Free Vintage Flower Prints
- Antique Botanical Posters
- Antique Watercolor Fruit Images