Monday, 20 February 2012

Endemics of St Helena

Trochetiopsis ebenus

Michel has recently put two interesting posts on M. Dancoisne-Martineau - artiste peintre.

One contains beautiful paintings of the endemics of St Helena.

The other contains his artistic imagining of an extinct ebony Dombeya Melanoxylon described in some detail in his memoirs by Dr Antommarchi, who attended Napoleon in his final months on St Helena.

Dombeya Melanoxylon

The plant also caught the eye of former Governor Alexander Beatson, who said it was a native of the barren rocks near the sea on the south side of the island, not far from Sandy Bay.
"I saw it in two gardens only, where it had in many years grown to the height of only 2-3 feet, with many longer branches spreading flat on the ground, well decorated with abundance of foliage and large beautiful flowers."(1)

Apparently dried fragments of Dombeya Melanoxylon, brought back to England by Captain Cook, are preserved in the collections at Kew.
1. Major-General Alexander Beatson.Tracts Relative To The Island Of St. Helena Written During A Residence Of Five Years 1816 p 307

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