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The Florilegium: The Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney

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This beautiful book is a celebration of 200 years of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney, showcasing the botanical richness of these Gardens through the eyes of 64 exceptional Australian and international botanical artists.


Authors: Colleen Morris and Louisa Murray. 224pp. 300 x 245 mm. 90 full colour botanical paintings. Paperback, ISBN 978 1 84246 649 0, Kew Publishing 2018.

The Florilegium Society at The Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney was formed in 2005 to create a unique collection of contemporary botanical paintings of significant plants that represent the history of the living collections of the Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust.

This beautifully produced book is a celebration of 200 years of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney, showcasing the botanical richness of these Gardens through the eyes of 64 exceptional Australian and international botanical artists. The stunning botanical paintings are presented chronologically according to the date of each species’ introduction to the Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney and its Blue Mountains Garden, Mt Tomah and the Australian Garden, Mt Annan. With paintings of indigenous Australian plants as well as more exotic species from Asia, the Americas, Africa and Europe, The Florilegium truly reflects the diversity of the three Gardens.

Each painting is accompanied by a botanical description written by Louisa Murray and a historic overview by Colleen Morris detailing the discovery of the featured species, its historic and cultural significance and introduction to the Gardens. With a foreword by Dr Shirley Sherwood OBE, preface by Dr Brett Summerell, RBG Sydney Director of Science and Conservation, and an introductory essay by Beverly Allen.

The accompanying exhibition of the same name runs from 31 March – 16 September 2018 in the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art at Kew.

Media reviews:

‘The standard of the plant portraits is so high and the text so illuminating that this will make a memorable book.’ Dr Shirley Sherwood OBE

Review in the Reckless Gardener


Colleen Morris is a landscape heritage consultant and in 1992 began a long association with the Daniel Solander Library at the National Herbarium, Royal Botanic Garden Sydney. She initially worked as a pharmacist before turning to garden history, and has a Masters in Heritage Conservation from the University of Sydney. Colleen was the National Chair of the Australian Garden History Society 2003–2009, and her publications include Terrace Houses in Australia (1999), major entries for The Oxford Companion to Australian Gardens (2002), and Lost Gardens of Sydney (2008).

Louisa Murray is the Flora Botanist based at the National Herbarium of New South Wales, Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney. She primarily works on PlantNET, the database of the Plant Information Systems in the herbarium as well as updating all botanical information and distribution data for the Flora of New South Wales (NSWFloraOnline). She has a wide knowledge of plants and has travelled extensively in New South Wales and Australian, collecting specimens for the herbarium. She is particularly interested in daisies and violets.

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