Saturday, August 18, 2012

A new subspecies. Science!

Phytotaxa just published an article with one of my illustrations in it. It's a new subspecies, Euphorbia melanohydrata subsp. conica. This is the most complicated pen-and-ink drawing I have ever done - most of the time you can get away with just doing a little branch of the plant, but with this one I felt I just had to draw the entire thing, because it is absolutely surreal - like a baby Martian Christmas tree. The article is open access, so you can read the whole thing here.

All those tiny fractal branches and subbranches and live branches and dead branches and flowering branches were so much fun to do. As were the roots. And trying to describe the shape of the plant itself using only branchlet shapes for shading.

A bit of a closeup.

Did you know you can get your latest new-species news on Twitter? I'm not really a Twitter person, but this does strike me as slightly absurd in the best sort of way, so I'm all for it. Here's the Tweet that introduced the world to baby Martian Christmas trees.


  1. Hi Lesley, This is amazing work!!! Wow!! It was awesome to meet you this morning. K

  2. Lovely to meet you too Karen! Thank you so much for your comment :) Don't forget the whale skull plspls (#MLIA)
    Hope you find studio space soon so you can use smelly art materials again! When can I see some of your work?