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Plant Focus

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A guest post by Matt Candeias, host of the In Defense of Plants podcast and blog

Illustrated Oaks of the World

I began work on the oaks in 2013. I had just completed illustrating the Princeton Field Guides to Trees of North America (see below, Selected Books Illustrated by David More) and had funds to work on another project. I decided on an illustrated project of the oaks of the world.

Quercus albocincta
Quercus albocincta

As a first step, I joined with the IOS so I could receive their publications. I also had access to the Oak Name Checklist and their leaf scans. I also linked up with Eike Jablonski who has been incredibly helpful sending me photos and scans. He helped in translating the text in Le Hardÿ de Beaulieu and Lamant’s Guide illustré de chênes, a fantastic photo guide of oaks around the world. Eike has been invaluable and it would not have been possible to complete the work without him. In addition, he sent images of many varieties and new cultivars that have been raised in nurseries in Europe and North America. Some of these will be shown fully for the first time in this project. I also had access to images of many hybrids from North America thanks to Ryan Russell.

Quercus alba
Quercus alba

Of course, with the wonders of the internet people could send me images of living material of whole trees. I already had a reservoir of photos of oaks growing here in the UK from previous publications I illustrated, but I was astounded when I started to discover the oaks that grow all over the world—and their many forms!

Oak leaves 1
Leaves of some oak cultivars:
Quercus ×bebbiana 'Taco' (top three leaves)
Q. shumardii 'Del Rio' (two leaves bottom right);
Q. 'Sweet Acorn' (three leaves bottom left; publication in progress)

As work progressed, I contacted many authors and oak enthusiasts from around the world. They were very generous with their time and sent me more photos. There is a long list of the people who have assisted my work.

Quercus petraea
Quercus petraea

The illustrated area measures 215 × 143 mm. The artwork is in gouache (watercolor pigment mixed with chalk to give opacity). This allows me to produce photo-realistic images in color. Most of the artwork is from photos of living material, but sometimes this was not available so Eike helped here by suggesting the colors of dried-out herbarium material.

Oak leaves 2
Two oak cultivars:
Quercus coccinea 'Crimson Cloud' (top)
Q. alba 'Jasper' (bottom)

I outline the shapes of the leaves and trees and then infill with paint until I have achieved the right surface textures, veins, etc. The acorns have been shown as close-ups for detail and the actual size of the acorns scaled up to the maximum leaf size of the species. All the artwork is on acid-free paper so it should last a long time!

Oak leaves 4
European oaks (left to right, starting at top):
Quercus vulcanica, Q. aucheri, Q. alnifolia
Q. faginea, Q. infectoria, Q. hartwissiana
Q. brantii, Q. look, Q. lusitanica
Q. pontica, Q. dalechampii, Q. kotschyana

 

Selected Books Illustrated by David More

(click on the titles for further details)

Princeton Field Guides: Trees of Eastern North America
Princeton Field Guides: Trees of Western North America
The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Trees (Anness Publishing)
Cassell's Trees of Britain and Northern Europe
Collins Tree Guide: The Most Complete Field Guide to the Trees of Britain and Europe
Collins Gem Trees
Trees of Canada and North America – Dragon's World
The Complete Guide to Trees of Britain and Northern Europe – Dragon's World
The Edible Mushroom – Dorling Kindersley

New oak cultivars
New oak cultivars:
Quercus frainetto 'Dözce' (top)
Q. kelloggii 'Mendocino' (bottom right; publication in progress)
Q. grisea 'Agatha Long' (bottom left; publication in progress)