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Monocot Collection

Monocots, a diverse group of plants, showcase their unique beauty in various forms

Background imageMonocot Collection: Narcissus tazetta, tazetta daffodil

Narcissus tazetta, tazetta daffodil
Painting by Pierre Joseph Redoute (1759-1840), from his publication Choix des plus belles fleurs (The Most Beautiful Flowers), c. 1827-33. Illustration entitled Narcisse a plusieurs fleurs

Background imageMonocot Collection: Flame lily (Gloriosa sp. )

Flame lily (Gloriosa sp. )
Flame lily ( Gloriosa sp. ) flower with openpetals and stamens topped by anthers

Background imageMonocot Collection: Livistona humilis, sand palm

Livistona humilis, sand palm
Plate 225 from Botanical Drawings from Australia (1801) by Ferdinand L Bauer (1760-1826)

Background imageMonocot Collection: Northern pike (Esox lucius) amongst Shining pondweed (Potamogeton lucens)

Northern pike (Esox lucius) amongst Shining pondweed (Potamogeton lucens). Lake Neuchatel, Switzerland, September. Photographed for The Freshwater Project

Background imageMonocot Collection: Strelitzea sp. bird of paradise flower

Strelitzea sp. bird of paradise flower
Plate 911 from the John Reeves Collection of Botanical Drawings from Canton, China. Held in the Botany Library at the Natural History Museum, London

Background imageMonocot Collection: Snowdrop (Galanthus Sp. ) single flower in snow, Buckinghamshire, England, UK, February

Snowdrop (Galanthus Sp. ) single flower in snow, Buckinghamshire, England, UK, February
Snowdrop (Galanthus Sp.) single flower in snow, Buckinghamshire, England, UK, February

Background imageMonocot Collection: Bluebells (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) on Eype Down with Colmer's Hill in background, Bridport

Bluebells (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) on Eype Down with Colmer's Hill in background, Bridport, Dorset, England, UK. May 2014

Background imageMonocot Collection: Elaeis guineensis Jacq. African oil palm

Elaeis guineensis Jacq. African oil palm
Illustration from the Botany Library Plate Collection held at the Natural History Museum, London

Background imageMonocot Collection: Ananas aculeatus, pineapple

Ananas aculeatus, pineapple
Illustration from the Botany Library Plate Collection held at the Natural History Museum, London

Background imageMonocot Collection: Ophrys apifera, bee orchid

Ophrys apifera, bee orchid
Watercolour by Arthur Harry Church, 17 June 1913

Background imageMonocot Collection: Cypripedium reginae, ladys slipper orchid. Also known as pi

Cypripedium reginae, ladys slipper orchid. Also known as pi
Although the current name of this orchid is Cypripedium reginae, the name on the original plate reads Cypripedium spectabile, which may have been the name accepted at the time

Background imageMonocot Collection: Vegetable roots

Vegetable roots
Plate 4 from Le Regne Vegetal, Vol 12, Hort. Atlas (1870). Held in the Botany Library at the Natural History Museum, London. Entitled Racines alimentaires

Background imageMonocot Collection: Cypripedium calceolus, Ladys slipper orchid

Cypripedium calceolus, Ladys slipper orchid
Watercolour from British Orchids (1792-1817), by Franz Andreas Bauer (1758-1840). Held in the Botany Library at the Natural History Museum, London

Background imageMonocot Collection: Angraecum sesquipedale, Madagascan orchid

Angraecum sesquipedale, Madagascan orchid
This species of orchid was used by Darwin to prove his theories of evolution. Illustration from The British Museum (Natural History) by Peter Whitehead and Colin Keates, 1981

Background imageMonocot Collection: Macrozamia communis, burrawang palm

Macrozamia communis, burrawang palm
Drawing LS 16 from the Watling Collection by Port Jackson Painter, 1788-1797. Illustration entitled Buroowang

Background imageMonocot Collection: Cypripedium candidum, small white lady s-slipper

Cypripedium candidum, small white lady s-slipper
Illustration from the Botany Library Plate Collection held at the Natural History Museum, London

Background imageMonocot Collection: Food plant bulbs

Food plant bulbs
Plate 8 from Le Regne Vegetal, Vol 12, Hort. Atlas (1870). Held in the Botany Library at the Natural History Museum, London. Illustration entitled Plantes bulbeuses alimentaires

Background imageMonocot Collection: Arum dioscoridis

Arum dioscoridis
Engraving by George Sowerby from original watercolour by Ferdinand Bauer, published in Flora graeca 10 (1840) by James Edward Smith

Background imageMonocot Collection: Cypripedium calceolus, Ladys Slipper Orchid

Cypripedium calceolus, Ladys Slipper Orchid
Originally published in: Paxtons magazine of botany, and register of flowering plants. Published in London. December 1836. Natural History Museums Botany Library. Plate Collection number 169

Background imageMonocot Collection: Allium flower (Allium sp. )

Allium flower (Allium sp. )
Allium flower (Allium sp.)

Background imageMonocot Collection: Bluebells (Hyacinthoides sp. )

Bluebells (Hyacinthoides sp. )
Bluebell flowers (Hyacinthoides sp.) in woodland. Photographed in spring, in Dorset, UK

Background imageMonocot Collection: Ananas comosus, pineapple

Ananas comosus, pineapple
A photograph of the detail from one of the decorative ceiling panels from the roof of the Natural History Museums Central Hall. Showing Ananas comosus, pineapple

Background imageMonocot Collection: Nymphaea sp. water lily

Nymphaea sp. water lily
Watercolour No. 15 by Walter Hood Fitch, c. mid-1800s. Held in the Botany Library at the Natural History Museum, London

Background imageMonocot Collection: Wild daffodil (Narcissus pseudonarcissus) Bay, Ullswater, Lake District, England, UK

Wild daffodil (Narcissus pseudonarcissus) Bay, Ullswater, Lake District, England, UK, March

Background imageMonocot Collection: Snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis) in flower, Lenaderg House, Banbridge Co. Down, Northern Ireland

Snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis) in flower, Lenaderg House, Banbridge Co. Down, Northern Ireland

Background imageMonocot Collection: Small pearl-bordered fritillary butterfly (Boloria selene), Marsland mouth, Cornwall, UK

Small pearl-bordered fritillary butterfly (Boloria selene), Marsland mouth, Cornwall, UK. JUne 2016

Background imageMonocot Collection: Snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis) flowering in woodland

Snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis) flowering in woodland. Near village of Alport, Peak District National Park, Derbyshire, March

Background imageMonocot Collection: Quiver tree (Aloe dichotoma) with the Milky Way at night, and light pollution

Quiver tree (Aloe dichotoma) with the Milky Way at night, and light pollution from town in the distance, Keetmanshoop, Namibia. Colours accentuated digitally

Background imageMonocot Collection: Urania speciosa; Palm

Urania speciosa; Palm
Watercolour from the John Reeves Collection; c.1820s Date: 1820

Background imageMonocot Collection: Yucca aloifolia, Spanish Bayonet plant

Yucca aloifolia, Spanish Bayonet plant

Background imageMonocot Collection: Green turtle (Chelonia mydas) feeding on on Turtlegrass (Thalassia testudinum

Green turtle (Chelonia mydas) feeding on on Turtlegrass (Thalassia testudinum) seagrass bed. The Bahamas

Background imageMonocot Collection: English bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) Lower Woods, Gloucestershire, England, UK

English bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) Lower Woods, Gloucestershire, England, UK, April

Background imageMonocot Collection: Darwins Orchid (Angraecum sesquipedale) species which is pollinated by a long-tongued moth

Darwins Orchid (Angraecum sesquipedale) species which is pollinated by a long-tongued moth, from Ambila, Madagascar. Photograph taken on location for BBC Wild Madagascar Series, August 2009

Background imageMonocot Collection: Arundo donax, giant reed

Arundo donax, giant reed
Illustration from the Botany Library Plate Collection held at the Natural History Museum, London

Background imageMonocot Collection: Phormium tenax, New Zealand flax

Phormium tenax, New Zealand flax
A watercolour commissioned by Sir Joseph Banks and sketched by Sydney Parkinson during the Endeavour Voyage. Parkinson died at sea before he could complete it

Background imageMonocot Collection: Amaryllis vittata, amaryllis

Amaryllis vittata, amaryllis
Illustration No.3 by Peter Brown, c. 1760s. Held in the Botany Library at the Natural History Museum, London

Background imageMonocot Collection: Cattleya skinneri, English orchid

Cattleya skinneri, English orchid
Plate 13 from Orchidaceae of Mexico and Guatemala (1837-1843) by James Bateman. Held in the Botany Library at the Natural History Museum, London

Background imageMonocot Collection: Maize root, light micrograph

Maize root, light micrograph
Maize root. Light micrograph of a section through the root of a maize plant (Zea mays) showing a vascular cylinder (centre)

Background imageMonocot Collection: Coastal agave (Agave shawii) leaves. Near Bahia de Los Angeles, Baja California, Mexico

Coastal agave (Agave shawii) leaves. Near Bahia de Los Angeles, Baja California, Mexico

Background imageMonocot Collection: Species rich alpine meadow with Orange lily (Lilium bulbiferum), Meadow clary (Salvia pratensis)

Species rich alpine meadow with Orange lily (Lilium bulbiferum), Meadow clary (Salvia pratensis) and Yellow rattle (Rhinathus sp)

Background imageMonocot Collection: Palms growing in front of Rice (Oryza sativa) terrace. Jatiluwih Green Land, Bali, Indonesia

Palms growing in front of Rice (Oryza sativa) terrace. Jatiluwih Green Land, Bali, Indonesia. 2015

Background imageMonocot Collection: American lobster (Homarus americana) in eelgrass (Zostera marina). Nova Scotia, Canada

American lobster (Homarus americana) in eelgrass (Zostera marina). Nova Scotia, Canada. July

Background imageMonocot Collection: Strelitzia sp

Strelitzia sp
Watercolour by Ralph Stennett, 1805. Held in the Botany Library at the Natural History Museum, London

Background imageMonocot Collection: Iris sp. blue iris

Iris sp. blue iris
Folio 67 from A Collection of Flowers (1795) by John Edwards. Held in the Botany Library at the Natural History Museum, London

Background imageMonocot Collection: Tulipa sp. various tulips

Tulipa sp. various tulips
Folio 44 from A Collection of Flowers (1795) by John Edwards. Held in the Botany Library at the Natural History Museum, London

Background imageMonocot Collection: Strelitzia reginae, golden bird of paradise

Strelitzia reginae, golden bird of paradise

Background imageMonocot Collection: Spiral ditchgrass (Ruppia cirrhosa) C016 / 3326

Spiral ditchgrass (Ruppia cirrhosa) C016 / 3326
Spiral ditchgrass (Ruppia cirrhosa) in flower, artwork

Background imageMonocot Collection: Macrocystis pyrifera, giant kelp

Macrocystis pyrifera, giant kelp
Giant kelp, also known as kelp forest, seaweed and sea grass. Specimen annotated as Macrocystis pirifera from South Africa, held at the Natural History Museum, London



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Monocots, a diverse group of plants, showcase their unique beauty in various forms. The Narcissus tazetta, commonly known as the tazetta daffodil, enchants with its delicate white petals and golden trumpet-shaped center. Meanwhile, the Livistona humilis or sand palm stands tall and graceful with its slender trunk and fan-like leaves. In contrast to these gentle blooms, the Elaeis guineensis Jacq. , an African oil palm, exudes strength and resilience as it thrives in tropical regions. The Strelitzea sp. , also known as the bird of paradise flower, captivates onlookers with its vibrant colors resembling a majestic bird in flight. Even amidst snow-covered landscapes like Buckinghamshire's winter wonderland in England's UK, the Snowdrop (Galanthus Sp. ) emerges delicately—a solitary flower braving freezing temperatures. In springtime scenes like Eype Down with Colmers Hill in the background, Bluebells (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) carpet the ground beneath towering trees. The Macrozamia communis or burrawang palm showcases its prehistoric charm with large fronds that have witnessed centuries pass by. On another note, Flame lilies (Gloriosa sp. ) ignite passion through their fiery red petals that curl dramatically at their edges. Nature continues to amaze us with intricate designs such as Ophrys apifera or bee orchid—its blossom mimicking a bee to attract pollinators—and Cypripedium reginae or lady's slipper orchid boasting elegant pink petals reminiscent of royalty. Traveling all the way from Madagascar is Angraecum sesquipedale—an enchanting Madagascan orchid whose long nectar spur entices only one specific moth species for pollination.