2019

Hello All,

Happy new year! It has been a while since I have last posted an update on this section of my website, so I think it is about time.

I have been working on numerous new project over the past few months and I finally feel as if things are picking up after leaving university. Some of these are:

  1. Publishing a tree study art book.

  2. Hand making personalised notebooks/sketchbooks such as Japanese stab binding.

  3. Original artwork for sale.

I’m excited by the prospects of this year. I’m so grateful that I can call what I enjoy doing the most “work”.

All the best,

PetuniArt

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Kickstarter Campaign

Hello there! 

After the final completion of Garden of Extinction, I took it into my hands to set up a fundraising campaign on Kickstarter to raise the money required for the self-publishing of my book. 

In order to print 55 copies of the final book, I am in need of £844. As a student, I am unable to raise these funds by myself, therefore I hope that this project is successful on Kickstarter. 

Please visit this link for information: 

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/garden-of-extinction/garden-of-extinction 

 

Venus Fly Trap

VULNERABLE

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Dionaea muscipla - This is a well-known plant that is native to North and South Carolina. They grow to about 5 inches in diameter and have around 5-6 stems with hinged leaves. The edges of the leaves are lined with "teeth" and fit together like a clam shell. Flytraps lure insects by secreting a sweet nectar from its leaves. Sensory hairs on the inside of the petals count the movements from the insect. There must be at least two movements in 20 seconds, otherwise the leaves wont snap shut. This cleverly prevents it from trapping debris, as it wouldn't make a good meal. The third movement initiates the digestive juices that break down the insect. When the flytrap's mouth is closed, it is sealed air tight, keeping out any bacteria. After 5-12 days, the mouth will re-open, ready to catch another. It is estimated that this species can live up to 20 years or longer. Unfortunately, this fascinating plant has been extensively harvested from the wild, even to extinction in some areas. Each plant is sold for as little as 10p on the black market. Habitat destruction has also been a major contributing factor to the deterioration of this species. 

Napoleonaea

CRITICALLY ENDANGERED

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Napoleonaea lutea - This is a 5-10m tall tree species that is endemic to Nigeria. It was first discovered in 1804, the same year its namesake (Napoleone di Buonaparte) crowned himself emperor of the French. It flowers grow directly off the branches, and are a creamy-white and red colour. The florets are comparable to an umbrella, and the pollen is shed from the hanging flower. Potential pollinators for this species are small, slender insects that find shelter within the flowers. This species is poorly documented and no conservation efforts are currently in place to preserve this species. However it is known to be threatened by habitat loss - oil operations in the area are causing extensive damage, to the habitat, if not its complete destruction.  

Bois Dentelle

CRITICALLY ENDANGERED

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Elaeocarpus bojeri - This is a species of flowering plant, found only in Mauritius. It grows to a height of 3m and flowers from July to September. The flowers are born at the very top of the branches. They are found in clusters of over 10 florets and the flowers are of a green and white colour. There are tiny fringes that lace the edge of the flower heads.  It grows in degraded cloud forest habitat. Sadly, this species is extremely close to extinction. There are fewer than 10 individuals remaining on Mauritius, all found near an Indian temple in the Grand Bassin. Therefore, it is listed as one of the worlds 100 most threatened species. This tree is not itself exploited, but its environment has been threatened by exploitation of the land. Its environment is being overrun by more commercially attractive alien species such as Guava. 

Dragon Tree

VULNERABLE

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Dracaena draco - This beautiful tree is native to Socotra (an island in the Arabian sea, part of Yemen). It is 6-9m tall and has trunks that are long and slender, with prickly leaves. The flowers are green and white and have a sweet smell. The orange brown berries are a little smaller than a cherry and covered in a red, resinous substance. The dragon tree has mythical origins: for his 11th labour, Hercules had to bring back golden apples from the garden of Hespérides, which was guarded by a hundred-headed dragon. Hercules killed it and blood flowed out over the land, which began to sprout dragon trees. The tree oozes "dragon's blood" - a red sap - when cut. The trees only flower every 15 years and the oldest dragon tree is thought to be more than 650 years old. The red sap of this species is used as colouring for varnishes, toothpastes and plasters. There are around 300 trees remaining - the extinction of a bird that assisted in the germination of the seeds has resulted in a sharp decline in number of the species. Therefore, the seeds can no longer germinate without human manipulation. Serious threats include the introduced rats that feed on the seeds and grazing animals that feed on seedlings, preventing growth. 

Western Underground Orchid

CRITICALLY ENDANGERED

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Rhizanthella gardneri - this is a highly enigmatic plant that spends all its life below the ground and is endemic to western Australia. It consists of a fleshy underground storage stem, which produces a flower head consisting of around 150 tightly packed, tiny flowers. Underground insects such as termites and gnats pollinate the flowers. It is thought that the native marsupials were important for seed dispersal. This orchid is always found in association with the root system of broom honey myrtle, which obtains nutrients from the orchid. Only 6 populations of this species are known, all of which are near the coast. Large areas of bushland have been developed for agriculture and this has contributed to the decline of this plant. Further threats include drought, the encroachment of salt and decline of the broom honey myrtle. 

Pine-Leaved Grevillea

ENDANGERED

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Grevillea pinifolia - This is a low evergreen shrub that is native to Western Australia. It is also known as "spider" and "toothbrush" flower due to its peculiar inflorescences. It has many branches and typically grows 30-60cm high. It has simple, linear leaves about 2 inches long and 1mm wide. It blooms from July to October, producing a series of impressive flowers, red or orange in colour. These flowers are pretty irregular, with the colours varying in between. Later, it forms hairy, egg-shaped fruit that is 1cm long. It is normally found amidst low trees. Not much has been researched about this plant. However, it has only been recorded in 2 locations along the west coast of Australia, making this a rare species. This species is threatened to extinction by habitat degradation through urban development. 

Eyelash Seaweed

CRITICALLY ENDANGERED

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Dione arcuata - Endemic to New Zealand this is a tiny, marine red algae, the thickness of a human eyelash. It is extremely rare and is similar to some of the oldest known fossils of multicellular organisms. It is found on only 4 boulders on the Kaikoura coast, most frequently on the shaded side of boulders that are exposed during extreme low tides. Little is known about the eyelash seaweed ecology. It has a two-part life cycle in which it grows in small shell or rock cavities, and when the water temperature is right, it will produce spores which drift in sea currents. These will grow into the 1.5cm eyelash-like algae in summer. In 2016, the Kaikoura earthquake is thought to have caused the near extinction of this species. The seaweed is threatened by changes in the marine environment, as any slight change in temperature could disturb the cycle of this species. 

 

 

Caroline Ivory Nut

VULNERABLE

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Metroxylon amicarum - This palm species is native to the Caroline islands in the Federated States of Micronesia. These massive palms grow up to 33m tall and have 5 metre long leaves and 9cm long fruits, which are extremely hard and covered in glossy scales. The species is found in 10 locations across the islands. Buttons are made from the nut whilst the roots and young leaves are used for traditional medicine by the local community. Furthermore, the leaves are highly valued for thatched roofs and the stem is also eaten as a form of starch. There are numerous other uses this species can provide for. However, it is threatened by habitat destruction as most of the Caroline island's forests have been degraded or converted, mainly for cultivation purposes. Any rise in sea-level or extreme typhoon events and tsunami can severely impact the habitat of this palm. 

Morris Squill

ENDANGERED

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Scilla morrisii - This plant is a perennial herb endemic to Cyprus. It has 3-6 straight leaves that are typically 70cm long and small star shaped flowers that are coloured purple, blue or white. It blooms between March and April. This plant is known from only 3 locations in north-western Cyprus. It grows at altitude levels between 250-900m, where it grows in moist crevices, most frequently under old oak and turpentine trees. It is estimated that there are roughly 1,000 individuals remaining. This species is under threat by continuous habitat degradation such as the construction of roads and human induced fires. There is also report of logging and forest clearance. The survival of this plant depends hugely on the conservation of the ancient oak and turpentine trees in the area. 

Shoe-shaped Belly-lip Orchid

CRITICALLY ENDANGERED

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Gastrochilus calceolaris - This peculiar name was coined by the Scottish botanist David Don in 1825 as the lip looks blown up like a beer belly. This orchid species is widespread across most of Southeast Asia such as the Himalayas. Its natural habitat is subtropical forests at altitude levels between 200-2300m. This orchid flowers between March and April. The flowers are a translucent cream marked with dark brown spots and a white marked lip with fringes. They are roughly 2cm wide and grow in large clusters of several florets. This plant intertwines itself up tree trunks in dense and humid forests. Unfortunately, this plant is threatened by the loss and degradadtion of habitat and over-collection for trade. It is widely utilized as an ornamental plant in houses.

Eye of the Crocodile Mangrove

CRITICALLY ENDANGERED

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Bruguiera hainesii - A beautiful mangrove species native to Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. It has small flowers that grow in clusters of 2-3 and are a pale yellow-green colour, overall 1.5cm wide. The flowers are pollinated by insects such as butterflies and the tree itself grows up to 30m tall. Mangrove forests are home to a variety of marine animals, as well as providing shelter for terrestrial species. The dense root systems of mangrove forests trap sediments flowing off the land, helping stabilise the coastline and prevent erosion from waves and storms. Where mangroves have been cleared, coastal damage from hurricanes is much more severe. This species has a total known population of approximately 200 trees. It has very low rates of germination and is threatened by extensive coastal development. With rising sea-levels, this species' habitat is hugely disrupted. 

Titan Arum

VULNERABLE

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Amorphophallus titanum - This spectacular plant produces the world’s largest compound flower - 3.5m tall. It grows in the rainforests of Sumatra (Indonesia) and blooms every 7-9 years. It is pollinated by flies and beetles that are attracted to its stench of rotting flesh. Once inside the plant they are trapped and only when the plant starts withering can they escape and brush through the pollen. The flower produces its own heat to spread the smell. Red berries ripen and are eaten by rainforest birds such as hornbills. David Attenborough coined the name Titan Arum, as he considered the Latin name "too rude" for television. Sadly, Sumatra's rainforests are in severe threat of deforestation. It is estimated that Indonesia has lost 72% of its original rainforest cover and this increases. The loss of habitat is endangering key species involved in seed distribution of this giant. 

 

Gymnocalycium

ENDANGERED

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Gymnocalycium oenanthemum is a species of flowering plant in the Cactaceae (cactus) family native to Argentina. It has the shape of a slightly flattened sphere growing up to 12cm in diameter. It grows in high altitude grasslands, in summer it blooms a wine-red or pink flower. This species is only found in two locations. It is often collected by locals and occasionally some specialised collectors, as it is a very popular houseplant in Europe and the UK. This, in turn, causes a strain on the population and depletes it. However, the major threat this plant faces is human-made fires in the grasslands, which strip and degrade its natural habitat, making it increasingly difficult for the species to mature. As this cactus does not find itself in any protected areas, there are currently no conservation efforts in place to prevent it from going extinct in the wild. 

Alerce Tree

ENDANGERED

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Fitzroya cupressoides - A tall, long-lived conifer endemic to the Andes mountains of southern Chile and Argentina. It is the largest tree in South America, growing 40-70m and 5m in diameter. They usually grow on young soils derived from volcanic ash and an altitude range of 1-1500m. It is a very slow growing tree, with records showing some have lived over 3600 years. Despite national and international legal protection, this tree has continued to be exploited for its timber. Human-set fires and conversion of forest to pasture land has significantly reduced its range and left extensive deforested or degraded areas.  During the summer of 1997, human-set fires destroyed 9,777 Alerce in Chile. This decline in habitat quality is on-going as illegal logging continues. 

Flower of the Andes

ENDANGERED

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Chuquiraga jussieui - is a species of flowering plant native to Ecuador and Peru. It is a low shrub, reaching a height of 75cm. The flowers are a pale yellow or orange and 2cm long. Its branches are fully covered by a rugged, resistant bark and hard pointy leaves. This serves as a defence mechanism against herbivores. The only animal that has adapted to feed from the flowers for pollen is the Ecuadorian hillstar hummingbird. The roots, leaves and flowers of this plant are known to have health benefits when prepared as a tea - helping with intestinal and liver functions and stimulating the immune system. The flower is also called the "flower of true love" - simply because it is so difficult to find one and take as it is quite painful. The plant is threatened by habitat loss and uncontrolled collecting. 

Southern Maidenhair Fern

ENDANGERED

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The southern maidenhair fern (Adiantum capillus-veneris) is a graceful and delicate plant that has specific growing specifications. It grows from 6 inches to 1 foot in height, its fronds arising in clusters from creeping stems. The genus of the Latin name Adiantum, is derived from the Greek word 'Adiantos' - meaning 'unwetted' - as the leaves from the fern repel water, while the species name is taken from the Latin words 'capillus' and 'veneris', meaning hair of Venus. It is listed as endangered as it is known only from a single spring in Mexico, where is it threatened by recreational activities and development. However, this species is also found in various locations around the world, such as Canada, Africa and Australia. 

Many-fruited Beardless Moss

CRITICALLY ENDANGERED

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Weissia multicapsularis - with its curious name, this moss forms small patches on the ground and on hedge banks. It is mid-green to yellowish and produces small shoots often under 1cm tall. The species is found at two locations on the south coast of Cornwall: Talland Bay (3–4 subpopulations) and Portscatho (3 subpopulations). It was once recorded in France, however now it is considered extinct. It is threatened by a lack of grazing animals, competition from other plants and fertilisers. The species is listed as Critically Endangered because it has such a small range and tiny population, all outside of protected areas, and is highly sensitive to changes in land-management practices. The species could easily disappear from Cornwall.

Monkey Puzzle Tree

ENDANGERED

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Araucaria araucana - an evergreen tree that grows up to 50m tall and is native to Chile. Its bark is resinous and its leaves are spiky, arranged spirally around the trunk and branches. In Chile the tree is sacred - the seeds are an ancient staple of their diet. The species was alive over 200 million years ago, and lived alongside the dinosaurs. Its spine like leaves acted as protection from grazing animals that are now long extinct. It can live for 1000 years. The tree is home to the slender-billed parakeet and over 70 types of insects that live nowhere else on earth, but no monkeys! Sadly, these trees have been heavily logged for over a century. In the UK, the monkey puzzle became an archetypal Victorian park tree. In 1976 they were declared 'natural monuments' and nature reserves were set up to protect them, but they are still under threat.