Lucy T Smith
botanical artist

Calamus pintaudii

I was thrilled to hear that my illustration of Calamus pintaudii had won the Margaret Flockton Award for scientific botanical illustration. Winners were announced at the opening of the exhibition at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney on the 6th May.
Calamus pintaudii is one of around 35 new species of climbing palm which I have illustrated for the Palms of New Guinea project. Instructed by Dr Bill Baker at Kew, it was a challenge to make a beautiful image from what was quite a scruffy herbarium specimen! In Bill’s words, we were getting to the end of the Calamus descriptions and thus into the “dregs” of the collection. As we so often work from “challenging” herbarium material, us botanical illustrators are used to rising such challenges and I was able to see beauty in this specimen’s curving rachillae, fibrous old ocrea and the always satisfying repetition of spines and flower bracts. I am glad that the judges agreed!
The description and name of this new species was published only two weeks ago. Its species name “pintaudii” was chosen by the authors to remember Jean Christophe Pintaud, a devoted palm scientist from France whose untimely death in 2015 shocked and saddened the palm world. We are so pleased that this award further honours his memory.

Click here for full details of the 2017 Margaret Flockton Award on the RBG Sydney website