Hortus floridus. Crispin van de Pass. 1614. Andersen Horticultural Library. UMN. (left)
Leedy’s Roseroot (Rhodiola integrifolia ssp. leedyi), Ursula Hargens, 2015 (right)
Crispin van de Pass came from a famous family of engravers. The book is considered to be the first bulb catalogue ever printed. It was organized into four parts and showed gardeners ornamental flowers that could be grown depending on the season.
This distinct subspecies was first discovered in 1936 on a cliff along the North Branch Root River in Olmsted County. There are currently seven known populations of Leedy’s Roseroot that exist in Minnesota and New York State. It is primarily threatened because of its specialized cliff habitat and its isolated, disjunct populations, but it is also affected by groundwater contamination and invasive plants Japanese knotweed and black swallowwort.
Flora Pedemontana…v. 3. Carlo Allioni. 1785. Wangensteen Historical Library. UMN. (left)
Floating Marsh Marigold (Caltha natans) and Purple Loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria), Ursula Hargens, 2015 (right)
Carlo Allioni was a physician and botanist at the University of Turin and the Director of the Turin Botanical Gardens. Flora Pedemontana was one if his most influential books, in which he lists 2183 species. Of these, 237 were previously unknown.
Floating Marsh-marigold is an aquatic species that lives in slow-moving water in St. Louis County, Minnesota. It is very sensitive to habitat disturbances such as water level fluctuations from motorboats, increased herbicides and nutrient enrichment in the water, and loss of habitat from invasive species such as Purple Loosestrife.
Illustrations of North American Pitcherplants. Mary Vaux Walcott. 1935. Andersen Horticultural Library. UMN. (left)
Dwarf Trout Lily (Erythronium propullans), Ursula Hargens, 2015 (right)
Mary Vaux Walcott was a trailblazer during the Victorian era and left a remarkable legacy in art, photography, glaciology, botany, and mountaineering. She helped map and measure glacial movement in Alberta and British Columbia, and these studies are still used by scientists today in understanding climate changes.
The Dwarf Trout Lily occurs only in Minnesota and is believed to have evolved after the retreat of the glaciers 13,000 years ago. The plant has little ability to expand its range due to its inefficient reproductive system. Its survival is threatened by loss of elm canopy in the floodplains where it grows, earthworm infestations, over-use by white-tailed deer, and invasive species such as buckthorn and garlic mustard.
North American wild flowers. v. 1. Mary Vaux Walcott. 1925. Andersen Horticultural Library. UMN. (left)
Western Prairie Fringed Orchid (Platanthera praeclara), Ursula Hargens, 2015 (right)
In addition to being a photographer, botanist, and mountaineer, Mary Walcott was also an accomplished painter. Walcott carried her paint box and pads on the back of her saddle and painted in harsh, unpredictable, and challenging environments. The short lives of alpine blooming plants meant that a limited the number of sketches could be completed each season.
This orchid was first documented by the Lewis & Clark Expedition and is now on both state and federal lists of endangered species. Minnesota is one of the few states where populations of the orchid still exist. It is endangered because much of the native prairie habitat has been converted to agricultural uses. Cattle grazing and trampling also threatens the species.
Anleitung zu der Pflanzenkenntniss… Salomon Schinz. 1744. Andersen Horticultural Library. UMN.
Bog Adder’s-mouth (Malaxis paludosa), Ursula Hargens, 2015 (right)
Leonhart Fuchs was a German botanist and physician who created a celebrated herbal in 1542. Over 200 years later, Salomon Schinz, a swiss physician and botanist, selected 100 of the original woodblocks and had them printed and hand-painted by orphans in a Zurich orphanage. These books changed over time, and in the Schinz book, many of the illustrations bled through the back of the page and created a shadow image on the front.
Bog Adder’s-mouth is a small and easily overlooked orchid that grows in rich, conifer swamps. Although it is common in Europe, it is considered the rarest orchid in North America. Because it grows on moss, preservation of this orchid relies on keeping moss communities in these forests undisturbed and healthy.
Temple of flora… Robert John Thornton. 1812. Wangensteen Historical Library. UMN. (left)
Prairie Shooting Star (Dodecatheon meadia), Ursula Hargens, 2015 (right)
The Temple of Flora was created by Robert John Thornton, a Cambridge-trained doctor who spent his inheritance producing an extravagant book illustrating the Linnean system of classification. The book combined botanical illustrations with elaborate calligraphic title pages, ancient poems, and serious botanical notes.Thornton originally produced the book plate by plate with the intent that subscribers would collect and bind them into a book. There were not enough subscribers, and despite a lottery scheme and extensive advertising campaign, he was financially ruined.
Prairie Shooting Star was discovered in Minnesota in 1980 in an untouched strip of prairie along a railroad. Much of the population of several hundred plants was destroyed in the 1990s by road construction and agricultural development. The biggest threat to its survival is the disappearance of native tall grass prairie. In Minnesota, less than 1% of original tall-grass prairie remains.
Chloris Boreali-Americana… Asa Gray. 1846. Wangensteen Historical Library. UMN. (left)
Alpine Milk-vetch (Astragalus alpinus var. alpinus), Ursula Hargens, 2015 (right)
Asa Gray was a professor of botany at Harvard and the author of many books on North American plants. Through his work and travels, Asa Gray became lifelong friends with Charles Darwin and Joseph Dalton Hooker, the explorer.
In Minnesota, Alpine Milk-vetch has only been found around several small ponds that have natural flood cycles in Lake County in the Arrowhead region. The plant is dependent on the flood cycles and therefore only has a small area of suitable habitat. As a result, encroachment by invasive species such as Reed canary grass and the Canadian thistle have a large impact upon its survival.
Agnes Williams. Andersen Horticultural Library. UMN. (left)
Golden-seal (Hydrastis canadensis), Ursula Hargens, 2015 (right)
The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum has a superb collection of watercolors by two women, Agnes Williams and Emma Roberts, who began recording Minnesota wildflowers in the 1880s.
Wild populations of Golden-seal are currently known four southeastern Minnesota counties. It grows in hardwood forests in ravines or on slopes. Golden-seal has significant pharmacological value and is being threatened by root-diggers who illegally harvest the root. The species is also threatened by loss of habitat to road construction, grazing, and heavy agriculture.
Both Dandelion and Golden-seal have historical medicinal uses in our region. Native Americans used golden-seal to treat many ailments from diarrhea and earaches to cancer. They used dandelion to treat kidney disease, swelling, skin problems, heartburn, and upset stomach.
Icones plantarum sponte nascentium in regnis Daniae et Norvegiae…vol. 13, pt. 1. Georg Christian Oeder. 1764. Wangensteen Historical Library. UMN. (left)
Black Crowberry (Empetrum nigrum), Ursula Hargens, 2015 (right)
This book is part of a collection that contains 3,240 engraved plates and is a comprehensive record all the wild plants native to Denmark. George Christian Oeder, a professor of Botany in Copenhagen, began the project in 1753, and it was completed 123 years later in 1883. The plates appeared in a hand-painted edition and a un-painted one that was distributed to clergymen, bishops, and grammar schools so that the information was disseminated all over Denmark.
In 1790, the Danish Crown Prince Frederik ordered a dinner set with illustrations from Flora Danica china painted on porcelain, intended for the Russian Tsarina Catherine II. This pattern, however, has continued and is still in production today by Royal Copenhagen.
Black Crowberry exists only in a cold microclimate found on a small island in Lake Superior in Cook County. It is a small, low-growing, woody shrub that forms a mat that can grow in narrow crevices or extend across larger rock surfaces. Black Crowberries were historically eaten by the Ojibwe people.