Promoting the conservation and appreciation
of plants of the Sonoran Desert through botanical art
drawing of wild chiltepine pepper


Read about this unique florilegium established to document plants native to the Sonoran Desert. Browse the selection of artworks of Sonoran Desert plants.

map of the Sonoran Desert
engraving of Banksia dentata

The Banks' Florilegium

More than 200 years after the sailing of the HMB Endeavour, 1990 saw the long-delayed publication of the Banks’ Florilegium--a monumental collection of watercolors of plants collected during the ship's voyage.

watercolor of Banksia serrata
Chromolithograph of Ilex cornuta

Holly Illustrations for the Holidays

Holly is the plant most often associated with traditional Christmas celebrations. Here are illustrations of several species the genus Ilex, including a pen and ink illustration of Ilex cornuta 'Burfordii' by Lucretia Breazeale Hamilton.

pen and ink drawing of Ilex cornuta 'Burfordii'
painting of octopus agave


Visit our online exhibit, a complete presentation of Botanical Art of the Sonoran Desert: Past & Present, a 2013 exhibit shown at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum's Ironwood Gallery.

watercolor of cholla blossom and butterfly
pen and ink drawing of Senna lindheimeriana

Illustrations from Legumes of Arizona,
an Illustrated Flora and Reference

Twenty-eight of the plants illustrated for the Legumes of Arizona project are native to the Sonoran Desert and are included in the Sonoran Desert Florilegium. These intricate pen and ink illustrations can be viewed here, along with information about the Legumes of Arizona project.

pen and ink drawing of Mexican palo verde
drawing of Soft tree fern


An archive of articles about botanical art from the Tucson Cactus and Succulent Society's newsletter The Desert Breeze. Olneya tesota (right), desert ironwood, by Margaret Pope (right).

sketch of Joseph Dalton Hooker
lithograph of scenic view by John Mix Stanley


Read about the 19th century artists who first illustrated the landscapes and plants of the Sonoran Desert for the great survey expeditions in the American West

chromolithograph of saguaro grove
photo of the Joseph Wood Krutch Garden


Read about the life and writings of Joseph Wood Krutch and the new Florilegium of the Joseph Wood Krutch Garden at the University of Arizona

photo of the Joseph Wood Krutch Garden
colored pencil drawing of queen of the night

Illustrations of the
Queen of the Night Cactus

The Sonoran Desert's beautiful summer nightbloomer, Peniocereus greggii, can be seen here in ten illustrations, ranging from historic scientific illustrations to evocative portraits of the flowers.

drawing of Peniocereus greggii
painting of Opuntia basilaris


Learn about the process of creating a scientific botanical illustration, also called a botanical plate.

photographs of dissected cactus flower
photograph of project volunteer


Read about our projects to preserve and exhibit botanical art, both historical and contemporary.

exhibit gallery poster for Gentry's Agaves
colored pencil drawing of barrel cactus flowers


View works from several past exhibits of botanical art of the Sonoran Desert, including Gentry’s Agaves, illustrations from Howard Scott Gentry’s landmark work on the genus Agave.

pen and ink drawing of an agave

The Sonoran Desert Florilegium

call for entries

For more than 400 years, florilegia, or “flower books,” have been created as botanically accurate renderings of living collections of plants from a particular botanical garden or region. The earliest published florilegia were compilations of paintings of plants found in European flower gardens, but over time, they have come to play a broader role in botanical and historical documentation.

In keeping with the Sonoran Desert Florilegium Program’s goal to promote conservation and appreciation of Sonoran Desert plants through botanical art, the program has established a florilegium to document plants native to the Sonoran Desert Region.

Traditionally the paintings of a florilegium were compiled and published as a book, but contemporary florilegia increasingly have become curated collections of botanical art. Unlike many of these florilegia, the Sonoran Desert Florilegium is an online collection of digital images of botanical art that can reach a far wider audience than a curated collection of physical artworks.

A call for entries for artists to submit works to the Sonoran Desert Florilegium can be found here.