“Moreover the purchasers of plants will often be able, by a reference to this sketch, to ascertain, by the names under which Swan River plants are offered for sale, whether particular species are worth possession, either for the sake of their beauty or singularity” – John Lindley, A Sketch of the Vegetation of the Swan River Colony
Even when the forest is eerily quiet, when not a single sound can be heard, in the Australian bush there’s always something new and interesting to discover, no matter how small. On a recent walk I found those beautifully red hairy jugflowers (Adenanthos barbiger), a species of the Proteaceae family endemic to south-west Western Australia. Apart from the esthetic aspects, I often find the botanical history of flowers and plants equally interesting, as it reflects the amazement of the early botanists and explorers when new species were discovered – species that now have become so common and sometimes even unremarkable to us.
The hairy jugflower was first described by John Lindley in A Sketch of the Vegetation of the Swan Colony. Published in 184o as an Appendix to Edward’s Botanical Register, the Sketch describes plants and seeds collected in the Swan Colony by botanists James Drummond and Georgiana Molloy. And although the Sketch is not the first attempt to describe the colony’s flora – Enlicher’s Enumeratio plantarum was published in 1837 – it is by far the most significant as around 300 new species were described in it.