Monday, March 26, 2012

Chocolate (Theobroma Cacao) Botanical Illustration

I took a course last weekend on Botanical Illustration at the University of California Botanical Garden. I've always been interested in botanical illustration both as an observer, collector, and as a practitioner. I say practitioner because I am not an artist, but I'm practicing.

I find the recording of plants in such intricate detail fascinating. There's room for creativity, of course, but the purpose of botanical illustration is to portray a true portrait of the plant and its parts with scientific accuracy.

I didn't draw any cacao pods, but there is a cacao tree in the UC Botanical Garden greenhouse. I've seen pods there, but didn't get a chance to peek this time and see if there were any pods there now. Next time I see one, I'll spend some time with it. It's hard to do a botanical illustration without the subject being close up, but I'll post my drawing, if it happens. However, in the interim, I thought I'd post a few well known botanical illustrations of the Theobroma Cacao Plant.

This one below is from "Der Cacao und die Chocolate by Alfred Mitscherlich", Berlin 1859.

This second one is From Koehler's Medizinal Pflanze (1887):  Theobroma Cacao--as is this third and the one at the top.

Not sure where this is from, but I love that it shows the different colors the pods take during their growth period--and it has the cross section of the pod and the flowers in graphite (or ink?). Very cool.

This is a Cacao Wall Chart used to teach botany students.

1 comment:

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

They're amazing looking pods aren't they and so detailed too!