photo Max Antheunisse, S Madagascar (2004)

1. Introduction

Plants were never created to be named (if they were created). They simply don't need our names to multiply. Perhaps only to survive in order to put them on a red list. We need them to inform you what is of our interest: Their beautiful flowers, their heaven-send fruits, or -perhaps less thrilling- the process of naming and classification.

This site is dealing with the latter. But don't be disappointed at the first glance. Without those -constantly changing- botanical names you will never get access to any additional information, like old prints, monographs or long forgotten inaccessible illustrations.

2. How to use plantillustrations.org ?

In the blue sky above you see 2 search boxes at the right. The white one is for entering scientific names, the grey one for vernacular ones. You must enter at least 3 letters in one of them to use the search facility (although you can successfully enter the genus Aa by exception).

3. Results vernacular search

If you use the search box for vernacular names, you must choose the corresponding language from the selection box at the left. The default is English and Dutch is the only alternative at the moment. When you subsequently click the search button (or use the enter key) you will get an alphabetical list of vernacular names matching with your input (see i.e. 'apple').

These vernacular names may correspond to a specific (binominal) or to a generic name, in which later case they are rendered in bold characters. At the right side of the vernacular name you now see the corresponding scientific one, which thus may be a generic or a binominal name. Remember that one vernacular name often corresponds to several scientific ones and that more options could be given.

When you click on one of those options (i.e. the alligator apple) you will be directed to the corresponding species page of its scientific counterpart (=Annona glabra L.). If a vernacular name is used for a whole genus (i.e. 'thornapple' for Datura L.), you will be directed to the corresponding page for this genus (i.e. Datura L.). If you want the thumbnails to be shown alphabetically grouped per species, just click the group by species button under the brown subheader of the genus page.

Unfortunately not all corresponding species or genera found in this way will give you access to thumbnails, simply because they are not available in the database. To prevent disappointment the third column of the vernacular search results therefore gives you the number of illustrations currently present.

4. Results scientific search (single entry)

When you use a single entry in the scientific search box and click the search button (or press the return key) you will get an alphabetical list of matching taxa. These taxa all belong to one of the following 7 categories as indicated by the listed records:

1. recognized genus
2. synonymous genus
3. (recognized) family
4. synonymous family
5. (recognized) subfamily
6. (recognized) tribe
7. (recognized) subtribe

If a matching record belongs to a recognized genus, the distribution of its species will be mentioned and if it is clicked you will be directed to its corresponding page. Also here the number of present thumbnails is indicated in the search results and you can find it in between the straight bracklets.

If you click a higher taxon (i.e. a -recognized- family, subfamily, tribe or subtribe) you will get the thumbnails alphabetically grouped by genus. This is particularly helpful for getting some quick idea in what genus a special plant might belong. So entering Balanophoraceae will give you all available thumbnails in that family alphabetically grouped per genus.

5. Results scientific search (binominals)

Apart from generic names and higher taxa you can also enter binominal names (species names), i.e. the combination of a genus and a specific name separated by a white space (like Ficus benghalensis, the banyan tree) in the scientific search box. In this case you must enter a full (correctly spelled!) generic name and at least 3 letters occurring in the specific name with 1 blank space in between. So entering Ficus ben will also give access to Ficus  benghalensis L., but now the result will show other binominals too. (like Ficus benjamina L.)

6. Thumbnails

When you move over the thumbnails with your mouse you will get information about the original publication and the original binominal name under which it was published. Also non-linnean names, i.e. non binominal names applied for species (like Flos solis major (= Helianthus annuus L.)) may by found here. The artist who made the drawing is mentioned at the end of the line in between straight bracklets ([n.a.] = not acknowledged]). If you want to see this information more permanently under each thumbnail click the ungroup button. The thumbnails are then rearranged in vertical order with the additional information placed below. You can also click the thumbnail itself.

6. HD illustrations

When you click the thumbnail itself you will be directed to the corresponding illustration page which gives a HD resolution (height 1080 px) of the image. Here you can also find all additional information as well as a link to its original contributor. This may by useful for getting higher resolutions or finding accompanying text.

6. Copyright illustrations

Plantillustrations.org is a completely non-commercial website and will not trouble you with irritating advertisements or ask you for donations. All available HD illustrations belong to the public domain according to the European law and may be reused under the Creative Commons License. Please visit the website of the original contributors for further details by using the links provided on the illustration pages.

7. Copyright photos

If you want to use photographs please ask Max Antheunisse or contact Jan Koeman.

8. Contact

Please report failures, incorrect fillings, mistakes or other problems with plantillustrations.org to Max Antheunisse. Suggestions are of course welcome too.

Max Antheunisse



version 4.3 desktop 2017-04-03

The botanical illustrator busy in the field drawing the Maripa palm (Maximiliania regia Mart.) 'ad naturae'. The drawing was made by the famous German botanist C.F.P. von Martius (who visited Brazil from 1817-1820) and was published in his Historia Naruralis Palmarum (vol. 2) in 1826.

The Maripa palm once again, but now redrawn from C.F.P. von Martius, Historia Naturalis Palmarum for L'Illustration horticole by P.Stroobant and published in 1855 (volume 2). Lots of illustrations from famous botanical books and journals (like especially the Botanical Magazine) were redrawn and lithographed in this once very popular Belgian horticultural journal. The botanical details were mostly exactly copied, but other details can show subtle differences. See below. Illustrations contributed by the library of the Missouri Botanical Garden.