Western hemlock – a new discovery

Following visits to Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE) and Benmore Botanic Garden, botanical artist Nicola Macartney (collaborating in my GREEN GOLD book project) has started work painting sketches of western hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla) including foliage, cones and a section of bark. These elements will be included in the final painting which will feature in an exhibition planned at RGBE next year.

Painting sketches of western hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla) by Nicola Macartney
Painting sketches of western hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla) by Nicola Macartney

The protagonist in GREEN GOLD, plant hunter John Jeffrey, discovered the species on 24th April 1852 in North America during his expedition across the continent. When his sponsors back in Edinburgh received samples from the tree, botanists named it Abies taxifolia. Today, the genus Abies refers to trees classified as firs rather than hemlocks.

More about my collaboration with Nicola Macartney
Nicola Macartney and I are working together with the aim of holding an exhibition at RBGE during 2018 to celebrate the life of the botanical collector John Jeffrey. The exhibition is dependent on GREEN GOLD being successfully funded.


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