Early New Zealand Botanical Art
Illustrations of the New Zealand Flora remained for many decades the most comprehensive and accurate collection of illustrations of the native flora. Today, a good copy of this work fetches several hundred dollars. Each Plate is usually accompanied by a single page of text by Thomas Cheeseman. A valuable feature is that it indicates who was the first to collect the plant and the date and location of this discovery. This is followed by a summary of its range of distribution and a brief description of the plant. Associated plants and any economic uses are also frequently noted. The legend for each Plate indicates where the particular plant illustrated was collected. Most drawings are natural size and include enlarged figures of flowers and fruits, frequently showing dissections. It is usual for a single plant species to be illustrated in each plate, but some smaller plants (for example, some orchids) are shown two per plate. At the end of the second volume is a list of illustrations of native seed plants and ferns that had appeared prior to the publication of Illustrations.