Sunday, June 18, 2017

Dandelion Botanical illustration - Taraxacum officionale

W&N watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm - unframed - 8" x 12"

Taraxacum officinale, the common dandelion (often simply called “dandelion”), is a flowering herbaceous perennial plant of the family Asteraceae.

It can be found growing in temperate regions of the world, in lawns, on roadsides, on disturbed banks and shores of water ways, and other areas with moist soils. T. officinale is considered a weed, especially in lawns and along roadsides, but it is sometimes used as a medical herb and in food preparation. Common dandelion is well known for its yellow flower heads that turn into round balls of silver tufted fruits that disperse in the wind called “blowballs” or “clocks” (in both British and American English).

During summer, when the Dandelions are in full flower, I mostly halt mowing the lawn, enjoying the spectacle of yellow flowers and then the beautiful blow-balls. And, like a child, I often pick them and blow them into the wind, revelling in the little umbrellas as they take off to start a new generation of Dandelions.

Dandelions are a Eurasian species now entrenched almost world-wide because of their excellent seed dispersal mechanism and ease of germination. Their crowded head of ray flowers produces numerous seeds, their low, wide basal leaves crowd-out competing plants, and thus the plant is often found in huge colonies.

ITEM ID : DandelionBotanical
PRICE : R350.00 including postage in South Africa

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Gum leaves - Botanical illustration

W&N watercolour on Amedeo 200gsm - unframed - 8" x 12"

Bluegum leaves (Eucalyptus)
Dedicated to all Eucalypt and Bee-lovers!

A recent study by the SA National Biodiversity Institute (Sanbi) in South Africa has found that gum trees provide nectar and pollen for swarms of commercial bees – and bees in turn pollinate about 50 food crops in the country. This “service” bees provide is worth about R10.3 billion a year.

Gum trees are not only important food for bees, but so are many roadside wildflowers, crops, suburban flowering plants and those that many regard as weeds. A major reason for the decline of honey bees around the world is a lack of good forage plants to provide nectar, which is the carbohydrate in the bees’ diet, and pollen the protein. Bees collect nectar from Blue Gum tree blossoms from spring to late summer.

A lack of good quality and variety of forage plants can lead to unhealthy honey bee colonies that are more vulnerable to pests and diseases.

This in turn can lead to insufficient pollination of our important agricultural crop flowers, leading to a decreased yield or quality of the food crop, Insect pollinators are needed for 35 percent of all food production globally – or one of every three bites you eat.

Although most Bluegums have been declared as an invasive species in South Africa, Beekeepers are highly dependent on eucalyptus and if they are all removed because they are aliens it would mean a serious shortage of food for bees – with a knock-on effect on crop pollination.

Because of this, the Department of Environmental Affairs’ legislation on alien and invasive species, updated in 2014, is “nuanced” for eucalyptus trees, not requiring all of them to come under the axe or chainsaw.

ITEM ID : GumLeavesBotanical
PRICE : R350.00 postage included in South Africa

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The beauties of Nature

Tasmanian bluegum (Eucalyptus globulus) - Acrylic on Art board canvas - unframed - 8" x 10*

This large, straight-trunked tree grows to about 70m tall in open forests in south-eastern Tasmania, on Bass Strait islands and in parts of southern Victoria. Its common name comes from the waxy blue-green colour of its juvenile leaves. The plant’s cream-coloured flowers are a good source of nectar for bees and the resultant honey is dense and strongly flavoured. Here in South Africa, this bluegum is widely planted as forage for our honey bee populations.

ITEM ID : BeautiesOfNatureAncrylic
PRICE : R650.00 postage included in South Africa



Early-morning Bluegums

Acrylic on Bockingford 300gsm - unframed 12" x 8"

The first light of day sweeps across some bluegums (Eucalyptus trees) in Tarlton, Gauteng, South Africa.

Bluegums play in important part in South Africa's economy as they provide forage for our threatened honey bee population. 

ITEM ID : EarlyMorningBluegumsAcrylic
PRICE : R650.00 postage included in South Africa


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