We appreciate more than just selling seed and plants here at Arkham’s Botanical, so thought we’d start adding the occasional bit of plant-related art and photography to the site to show off our good taste… Hopefully, this will form a suitable accompaniment to the shop, cultivation guides, general information and other resources that we offer! Please do feel free to make any constructive suggestions via email too.
With this in mind, here’s our first (small) gallery of some fantastic illustrations from an amazing 1841 work by French botanist Charles Lemaire (no relation to American drug researcher and mining engineer Darrell Lemaire). Rather wonderfully named in its original French as ‘Iconographie descriptive des cactées, ou, Essais systématiques et raisonnés sur l’histoire naturelle, la classification et la culture des plantes de cette famille’ (‘Descriptive Iconography of Cacti, or, Systematic and reasoned tests on the natural history, classification and cultivation of plants of this family’), the book’s English title is simply ‘A Descriptive Iconography of Cacti’.
Reportedly living in a state of “semi-poverty” for much of his life, Lemaire devoted himself to the study of the genus Cactaceae, although, sadly, never published any major works on the subject. Editor for many years of the botanical research journals ‘Flore des Serres et des Jardins de l’Europe’ (‘Flora of Greenhouses and Gardens of Europe’) and ‘L’Horticulteur Universel’ (‘The Universal Horticulturist’), he died in 1871.
However – and fortunately for us – we’ve still got access to ‘A Descriptive Iconography of Cacti’ and hence these gorgeous drawings! We’re sure that Charles Lemaire would be happy to know that people all over the world are still appreciating his wonderful illustrations of various species of cacti, including from the Cereus, Echinocactus and Mammaliaria genera.
Click on a thumbnail for the full-size gallery/slideshow