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Scientific Botanical Illustrations Created for Legumes of Arizona: An Illustrated Flora and Reference


"Wisteria sinsensis" by John H. Gerdes
"Wisteria sinsensis" by John H. Gerdes

Dates: September 1, 2011 - December 19, 2011

Location:   Science-Engineering Library

Contact: Bob Diaz

Description:

The legume family is one of the most economically and agriculturally important plant families in the world. Wide-ranging uses of these plants include their production as protein-rich foods and sources of pharmaceuticals for humans, forage for animals, and natural sources of nitrogen in agriculture (for example, as nurse plants) thanks to nitrogen-fixing bacteria located in their roots.

These plants are particularly significant in Arizona as many species are adapted to arid lands, and desert-adapted plants will become increasingly important as water issues of the state become more critical. Despite this family’s significance, there is no comprehensive reference for these plants in the United States or for Arizona. Legumes of Arizona was initiated to address this.

Illustrations are a key part of Legumes of Arizona. In order to provide the necessary detail for this type of illustration, students must carefully study the plant, often using microscopes to look for important detail. However, the illustrations are not merely mechanical rendering of plant anatomy. They also represent unique works of art that reflect an artist's unique style and perspective.

Guest curated by the UA Herbarium, "Scientific Botanical Illustrations Created for Legumes of Arizona: An Illustrated Flora and Reference " highlights the work of the Desert Legume Program, a joint project of the Boyce Thompson Arboretum and the UA College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.