Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Seeing things - vascular bundles

My love of plant morphology certainly extends into my botanical drawing and painting it would seem strange if it didn't.

Whilst completing the paintings for my RHS project I am drawn ever closer (excuse the pun), to the details I am illustrating, especially as some of them are x20 lifesize.  You even begin to start seeing things - yes I am not joking !

Most recently I have been painting my 3rd attempt at a Hazel bud, yes third, and I think  have finally cracked it.  The bit that was the most challenging was believe it or not the leaf scar.  This is usually found just below the bud and is where the leaf from the previous year was attached.

A Horse-chestnut twig showing the morphological features of a twig.  The leaf scars on this tree species are characteristically quite big.

On the surface area of the leaf scar is usually some small spot like features, when viewed life size. These are called the bundle scar and are actually the ends of vascular bundles.

What are vascular bundles ?

A vascular bundle is a part of the transport system in vascular plants. The transport itself happens in vascular tissue, which exists in two forms: xylem and phloem. Both these tissues are present in a vascular bundle, which in addition will include supporting and protective tissues.

So these bundle scars have proven to be a bit of a challenge, as their layout on the leaf scar is often regular in pattern and can at times represent a face - this has been the case with the Hazel.

It has been driving me a bit mad, but I have had to accept it, as the position of these bundle scars can be a feature used in identification, so I have to show them as they actually are.

The Hazel bud and twig WIP - see what I mean !

Guelder rose - not so much of an issue

A very small bundle scar on the Field maple

Ash - only the edge of the leaf scar is visible below the lateral bud

I accept the challenge of the bundles and will carry on regardless !

On a positive note I have had confirmation from the RHS, and will be exhibiting this series of paintings at the RHS Botanical Art Show at the Lindley Hall in Westminster, London, on Friday 26th and Saturday 27th February.

For further information about the show follow this link: https://www.rhs.org.uk/shows-events/rhs-london-shows/rhs-london-botanical-art-show


  1. Thinking back to our conversation at last year's show - I'm glad you're going big!

  2. Most definately Katherine, with a bit of an addition too !

  3. Love the little bearded face in the hazel! Your work is inspiring!


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