Sex: Nature’s Masterpiece

Words by
Adam Batchelor
Illustration by
Adam Batchelor
| August 15, 2014

As Erasmus Darwin once wrote ‘ Sexual reproduction is the chef d’oeuvre, the masterpiece of nature’. Using Darwin’s 1789 beautiful & bizarre ode to botany, ‘The Botanic Garden’, this small collection of drawings operates as a brief visual exploration of sexual reproduction in plants. By combining traditional botanical illustrations with a weird touch and a bit of minimalism, these drawings aim to approach the subject in a more contemporary manner, one that highlights our fascination with plants and their significance, but also provides playful imagery of colour, innuendo and imagination.

Sack-shaped Catasetum Orchid (Catasetum saccatum)

The male of this species of Orchid actually violently ejects it’s viscid pollen sacs with explosive force when touched.

Catasetum saccatum, ' Sack-shaped Catasetum Orchid' 2014, coloured pencil on paper, 40 x 30cm
Catasetum saccatum, ' Sack-shaped Catasetum Orchid' 2014, coloured pencil on paper, 40 x 30cm

Flamingo Lily (Anthurium andraeanum) x  House Fly (Musca domestica)

Notable for it’s very phallic shape and sometimes referred to as the ‘Boy Flower’ the Anthurium is actually one of the plants listed in a NASA Clean Air Study as being effective in removing formaldehyde, xylene, toluene and ammonia from the air.

Anthurium andraeanum, ' Flamingo Lily' x Musca Domestica 'House Fly', 2014,  coloured pencil on paper, 40 x 30cm
Anthurium andraeanum, ' Flamingo Lily' x Musca Domestica 'House Fly', 2014, coloured pencil on paper, 40 x 30cm

Raffles Pitcher-Plant (Nepenthes rafflesiana) x Icelandic Poppy (Papaver nudicaule)

A somewhat crude and unusual encounter between two geographically and behaviourally different plants, one native to sub-polar regions of the North, whilst beautiful and lightly fragrant, all parts of this plant are considered poisonous. The other, a slightly carnivorous, exotic and threatened plant from South East Asia, feeds on the gooey soluble nutrients of fallen insects actually has many properties beneficial to humans, the roots can treat stomach aches and dysentery and the stem may be used to treat coughs and fevers.

Nepenthes rafflesiana, ' Raffle's Pitcher-Plant' x Papaver nudicaule 'Iceland Poppy', 2014,  coloured pencil on paper, 40 x 30cm
Nepenthes rafflesiana, ' Raffle's Pitcher-Plant' x Papaver nudicaule 'Iceland Poppy', 2014, coloured pencil on paper, 40 x 30cm

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