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Tropical Botanical Illustrations of John Lindley

The beautiful tropical botanical illustrations shared here are from the book “Collectanea botanica, or, Figures and botanical illustrations of rare and curious exotic plants” by John Lindley. The book was first published in 1821.

John Lindley (1799-1865) was an English botanist and gardener, born in Norfolk. Helping out in his father’s commercial nursery as a child, sparked John’s interest in botany.

He was largely a self-taught botanist. As a young man, he left Norfolk for London to work as an assistant to the famous naturist Sir Joseph Banks.

Lindley’s first book was on fruit, followed by a book on Roses, where he described many new species.  But his favourite flowers were orchids.  At the time, he knew more about orchids than anyone else. He described and named nearly 150 new species of the flower in his lifetime.

In his book of tropical plant illustrations (Collectanea Botanical), many of the plants came from the Orchid family. He painted the botanical illustrations in the book himself.

Lindley was pivotal in saving Kew Gardens, opening it to the public and turning it into the botanical headquarters for the UK. His famous collection of orchids was housed in the Kew herbarium.  

Lindley was well respected by his fellow botanists, reflected by his name being honoured in the naming of more than 200 plant species.

The Tropical Botanical Illustrations

To download the tropical plant print you want click on the title above the illustrations. A higher resolution image will open in a new window on your browser. If you click on that image you will have the option to save it to your device for printing.

All the vintage botanical illustrations featured here are in the Public Domain, so you are free to print and use them how you wish.

1. Bromelia fastuosa

More commonly known as Bromelia Pinguin these days. Found in Central America, the Caribbean and Northern South America. The plant’s prickly leaves are used as a protective fence in Jamaica. A thread can be made from the fibres. 

Bromelia Fastuosa

2. Trizeuxis falcata

An orchid flower native to the American tropics.

Trizeuxis Falcata Orchid

3. Pinedrops Botancial Illustration

Pterospora andromedea, pinedrops are widespread across the Americas.

Pinedrops Botanical Illustrations

4. Chinese Primrose

5. West Indian Tufted Airplant

West Indian Tufted Airplant

6. Amaryllis solandraeflora

Amaryllis solandraeflora

7. Amaryllis vittata major

This tropical botanical illustration is now known as  Hippeastrum, or “knight’s-star-lily”.

Knight Stars Lily tropical botanical illustration

8. Tropical Hydrangea

The flower is also commonly known as “Pink ball“.

tropical hydrangea

9. Strawberry Guava

Strawberry Guava

10. Metrosideros vera

Metrosideros vera

11. Mytrus disticha

Mytrus_disticha

12. Persian Poppy

These poppies are grown to produce thebaine, which is commercially converted to codeine and semi-synthetic opiates.

Persian Poppy

13. Goodyera pubescens

This flower is more commonly known as the downy rattlesnake plantain. It is a very common orchid in North America.

Goodyera Pubescens botanical illustration

14. Theophrasta jussieui 

Theophrasta_jussieui

15. Oncidium barbatum

Another tropical botanical illustration of an orchid.

Oncidium Barbatum orchid botanical illustration

16. Ornithogalum fimbriatum

Ornithogalum fimbriatum

17. Triumfetta rhomboidea

A tropical botanical illustration of a plant more commonly known as Chinese Bur.

Chinese-Bur-tropical-botanical-illustration

18. Raphiolepis ruba 

A variety of hawthorn plant.

Raphiolepis ruba

19. Lissochilus speciosus

This flower is a species of orchid found from Ethiopia to South Africa and Saudi Arabia. The plants usually grow in grasslands in sandy soils or in clay.

Lissochilus_speciosus orchid

Another Victorian botanical book to check out is the Temple of Flora.

There is a collection of prints from the waterlily house at Kew Gardens in this collection of giant water lily (Victoria Amazonica) prints.

I hope you enjoyed these tropical botanical illustrations by John Lindley. Don’t forget to check out the many other vintage botanicals on the site, including the flower illustrations of individual species. There are also some wonderful tropical house plant drawings.

Vintage tropical botanical illustrations

Gwen

Tuesday 5th of April 2022

Absolutely gorgeous!! Thank you so much!

claire

Friday 8th of April 2022

You're welcome, glad you are enjoying them.