A conceit written by the great botanist Sir Joseph Banks, illustrated by Austrian artist Ferdinand Bauer, and sent to HRH The Princess Elizabeth in 1814. I saw this on display at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge this afternoon as part of an exhibition of botanical illustrations. Note the Banksia flowers, named, of course, after Banks himself, and the Strelitzia, which is named for the duchy of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, birthplace of Charlotte, Queen of the United Kingdom and mother of Elizabeth.
Nerium oleander (Gentianales - Apocynaceae) is an evergreen shrub that grows to approximately 6 m. The flowers are tubular with five lobes, red or pink in the wild, but in addition may be white, cream, yellow or purple in cultivars, and double forms have also been selected.
It is a highly toxic plant that has been cultivated as an decorative plant since ancient times.
Native to the Mediterranean region, Iran, the Indian subcontinent and southern China.
Authorities say unemployment and drug addiction have spurred an increase in the destructive practice of cutting off the knobby growths at the base of ancient redwood trees to make decorative pieces like lacey-grained coffee tables and wall clocks.
The practice — known as burl poaching — has become so prevalent along the Northern California coast that Redwood National and State Parks have started closing the popular Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway at night in a desperate attempt to deter thieves.