"There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion" Francis Bacon 1561-1626

Friday, 20 March 2009

Leaf of the day: Acacia Nilotica Seedpod

Today is a pod from Acacia nilotica, subsp. tomentosa. Due to the clearing and replanting of the Arid Garden this tree is now more accessible and these lovely pods were scattered on the cleared ground, around the base of the tree. There are now many new and exciting plants in this area, yet more to explore and draw.
This is just one small corner of the Arid Garden. The Acacia nilotica is the twiggy little tree on the left.



There are so many acacias at Leu Gardens. I have only drawn a couple. The Bulls Horn Acacia .. (Ant's home) and the Cat's Claw acacia, here . This one will have a beautifully scented little yellow flowers and the young pods and leaves are important as animal fodder in Africa. It was an early source for gum arabic which is now more usually provided by another acacia, Acacia senegal. Where would watercolourists be without gum arabic? A question I will answer if I find an Acacia senegal.


Image from Aluka's online digital library of scholarly resources from and about Africa here. (‘Aluka’, is derived from a Zulu word meaning ‘to weave’... nice, I thought.)


A very nice old botanical print of the acacia nilotica .. here called mimosa, from 1800 Wiki here.

There is so much to write about acacias with over 1300 species of worldwide. On my next visit to the Gardens I will see which other species they have.

The pods are velvety when young. This one I have drawn is older, but still had some soft furry patches. They are very pleasing things.

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Acacia Nilotica Seedpod



Watercolour on Arches HP, size 7"x 5"

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