Trees of paradise
Groundbreaking 19th century palm illustrations
On 15 December 1868, Carl Friedrich Philipp von Martius (1794–1868), Professor of Botany at the University of Munich and director of the Royal Botanic Garden, was carried to his grave in a coffin covered with fresh palm leaves. These were a reference to his groundbreaking Historia naturalis palmarum: opus tripartitum (Natural History of Palms: a work in three volumes), published between 1823–1853. At the time, this encyclopedic treasury contained the sum of human knowledge on the topic, and included 240 exquisite chromolithographic illustrations, including landscape views of palm habitats and botanical dissections.