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The Florilegium

The Florilegium Society at the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney Inc was formed to create a florilegium, a collection of contemporary botanical paintings of some of the most significant plants in the living collections of the Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust.

Click here for the list of Florilegium paintings and artists

The society is a self-funded, voluntary organisation. The artists have gifted the original botanical paintings and their copyright to the Trust to form this unique collection, the first of its kind for a botanical garden in Australia. 

Established botanical artists are invited to join the Society and submit paintings for inclusion. The paintings accepted are of the highest standard, botanically accurate and painted as individual responses to the subject.

What is a Florilegium?

The word 'florilegium' was first used for a publication in 1590, and unlike the earlier herbals, it focused on the beauty of the plant rather than its medicinal value. Florilegia flourished from the 17th century to the late 19 th century when they were created to portray collections of rare and exotic plants from far afield. Now, the modern florilegium seeks to record collections of plants, often now endangered, from within a particular garden or place.

The Book

The Society will publish the Florilegium in 2016 to celebrate the 200 year history of Australia’s first botanic garden. Documenting its botanical and horticultural development, the historical theme will relate the species painted to each period of the Garden’s history, through the collectors, the botanists, horticulturalists and directors, and to changing horticultural fashions. 

The beautiful high quality 224 page publication will be available from March 2016. Each of the eighty seven paintings will have a full colour plate accompanied by the plant’s botanical description and text relating it to the history of the Gardens.

Like the scientific accuracy that botanical art adheres to, the richness of the horticultural displays in the Royal Botanic Gardens is underpinned by the tradition of a scientific garden, plant collecting and the educational role that the Gardens encompass as part of our heritage.


On Botanical Illustration page - Image representing 'Florilegium': Kalopanax septemlobus - Artist: Noriko Watanabe. 

On this page: Carousel Middle – Milletia grandisStrongylodon macrobotrys, Banksia blechnifolia, Barringtonia neocaledonica
Carousel Right - Kalopanax septemlobus, Artist: Noriko Watanabe 
Carousel Left - Stenocarpus sinuatus, Artist: Angela Lober 

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