Historical botanical illustration of the day

Sydney Parkinson, Tahiti, florilegium, Mrs Morgan's Florilegium

Metrosideros collina is a species of flowering plant in the family Myrtaceae. It is native to the Marquesas Islands, the Society Islands, Fiji and Vanuatu.

The Myrtaceae or Myrtle family are a group of dicotyledon plants, placed within the order Myrtales.

Myrtaceae has over 5,650 species, occurring in some 130-150 genera. Historically the family has been divided into two subfamilies: Myrtoideae (ca. 75 genera) and Leptospermoideae (ca. 80 genera).

The above Metrosideros collina was collected at Tahiti during Captain Cook’s first Pacific voyage on the Endeavour. Gabriel Smith is the attributed artist, but it is likely that the work was heavily based on a partially coloured drawing by Sydney Parkinson. The painting is labelled with the synonym Metrosideros spectabilis.

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