Plant Identifications (We think!)

Patrick Sweeney, Peabody’s botanical collection manager sought out the opinions of several of his botanical colleagues to confirm his ideas about what plants are depicted in the diorama painting. Without Wilson’s photographs, they can’t be 100% sure of the IDs, but here is the list of what they were able to come up with by looking at photos of the painting and checking them against the botanical lists of Point Pelee:

Elymus canadensis (Canada Wild Rye grass)

Panicum virgatum (Switch grass)

Lithospermum caroliniense (Hairy puccoon)

Maianthemum stellatum (Starry False Solomon’s Seal)

Juniperus communis (Common Juniper)

Species of Cornus: All of the following occur on Point Pelee: C.cricinata, C. asperifolia, C. baileyi, C. stolonifera, C. paniculata, C. alernifolia

Now I can start to think about how to produce these plants for the foreground. Some will be easy (both dried grasses can be found locally in CT-we’ll use them as is) Others will be difficult (the Hairy Puccoon’s yellow flowers are complex and attach to a plant stem and leaves that are covered with fine hairs.)  Many of the leaves will be first sculpted in clay, molded, and vacu-formed in clear acetate.  Wires will be glued to the midline of each so they can be attached to the stem and then they will be painted as transluscently as possible.  I will try freeze drying the juniper.  The needles get sprayed with latex first to hold them to the branches when they are dried.  If the needles distort from drying as seen in longer needled pines, I will have to try embedding them first in sand and then try the freeze drying again.  If that doesn’t work, I don’t know what I’ll do.  This is what keeps it interesting!

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