Botanical Illustration and foraging: Eat what you paint!

Story posted: Friday, 20. May 2016 by Lizzie Harper

Recently I took an edible plants identification chart I'd done the natural history illustrations for on a walk, to test it out with friends.

I've written blogs on foraging before as it's something I do a fair amount of, but this "road test" of one of my i.d. charts was a first.

FSC Guide to edible plants botanical illustrations by Lizzie Harper

FSC Guide to Edible Plants

We were looking out for anything edible, but were mainly after wild garlic to make pesto with.

Wild garlic botanical illustration out foraging with natural history illustrator Lizzie harper

Wild Garlic Allium ursinum botanical illustration - this one I did a while back is too dull in colour.

I've illustrated wild garlic several times over the years, and the illustration I recently completed for this edible plants chart is by far my favourite.

Lizzie Harper botanical illustration of Wild garlic

Wild Garlic Allium ursinum botanical illustration - I much prefer the brighter green and the fact that there's more of the plant (and the roots) showing.

We went walking up Cusop Dingle (near Hay-on-Wye), and it didnt take long to find an enormous amount of wild garlic growing on wither side of the track.

Foraging for wild garlic botanical illustrations by Lizzie Harper put to the test

Wild Garlic growing in Cusop Dingle

We scrutinised the plant and the illustrations, not because we weren't sure of ourselves (there's no mistaking wild garlic, it smells so delicious and strong!) but because everyone was keen to put me to the test.

We weren't only gathering wild garlic, but also collected wild garlic buds; once these are pickled they are absolutely delicious.

Foraging for wild garlic botanical illustrations by Lizzie Harper put to the tes

Wild garlic buds on the edible plants chart.

There was a brilliant moment when my friend's 9 year old daughter declared that the illustrations were rubbish and looked nothing like the plant.  The best bit was that she stuck to her opinion even when I told her who did the pictures.  Ah the honesty of youth!  Here's hoping she's in a minority...

Lizzie Harper Natural history natural science botanical illustration sciart illustrator blog on edible British plant foraging illustrations for FSC i.d. chart

Being taken to task on the accuracy of my illustrations by a 9 year old

We picked lots of garlic, then looked to see what else was around.  The children balked at raw hawthorn leaves, and my other half and I failed to get excited by Cleavers Galium aparine. However, it was gratifying to see that the pictures and the specimens did match.

Lizzie Harper Natural history natural science botanical illustration sciart illustrator blog on edible British plant foraging illustrations for FSC i.d. chart

Cleavers Galium aparine and the edible plants chart

One other plant we did gather and take home was the common Stinging nettle, Urtica dioica.

Lizzie Harper Natural history natural science botanical illustration sciart illustrator blog on edible British plant foraging illustrations for FSC i.d. chart

Stinging nettle, Urtica dioica

We made a delicious soup by adding stock and potatoes; it's a most wonderful green colour and everyone ate loads.

The wild garlic pesto is so simple to make; wild garlic, olive oil, mixed nuts, and parmesan all whizzed together.

Lizzie Harper Natural History and Botanical Sciart Natural science Illustrator makes foraged wild garlic pesto

Making Wild garlic pesto

Despite the reservations of my 9 year old guest, I think the chart passed the test on being used in the field...and we have ended up with some truly delicious Wild Garlic Pesto!

Lizzie Harper Natural History and Botanical Sciart Natural science Illustrator makes foraged wild garlic pesto

Wild garlic pesto - we've got 6 jars of it!

On another topic entirely, I'm afraid I've had to turn off the "comments" button on my blogs due to spamming.  If you would like to give any comments or feedback, please do so on my Facebook page or Twitter account or email me at lizzieharper@tinyworld.co.uk.  Many many thanks; and apologies.



Category:  Scientific Illustrator out and about   |   Comments:  0   |   Viewed:  884

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