Science Art: Xylophylla, by Olof Swartz, 1791 (detail)

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From a page of botanical babies drawn by Swedish botanist Olof Swartz just before the dawn of the 19th century. Swartz was a pupil of Linnaeus, the fellow who pretty much invented the way scientists name living things. After traveling to the Caribbean, he became one of the world’s first experts on ferns and orchids.

Technically, this image is a detail from “Flower parts and seeds of plant groups: Xylophylla, Rondeletia, Petiveria, Phyllanthus, Cissampelos, and Omphalea,”which is a page of Observationes botanicae quibus plantae Indiae Occidentalis aliaeque Systematis vegetabilium.

Xylophylla is a West Indian plant with leaflets that look like scales, branchlets that look like leaves and flowers that appear to bloom from those leaves’ edges.

I found this in the John Carter Brown Archive of Early American Images at Brown University.