Historical botanical illustration of the day

Mrs Morgan's Florilegium, transit of Venus, Natalie Waddell, Joseph Banks, Daniel Solander, Sydney Parkinson,

Clianthus, commonly known as Kakabeak (Kowhai ngutukaka in Maori), is a plant genus comprising two species of woody legume shrubs native to New Zealand.

They have striking clusters of red flowers which resemble the beak of the Kaka, a New Zealand parrot. The plants are also known as Parrot’s Beak, Parrot’s Bill and Lobster Claw. There is also a variety with white to creamy coloured flowers.

The two species are the critically endangered Clianthus puniceus, and the endangered Clianthus maximus.

Joseph Banks and Daniel Solander collected specimens in 1769 at Tologa Bay during Captain James Cook’s first Pacific voyage on the Endeavour.

The above illustration of Clianthus puniceus is attributed to Daniel Mackenzie but was likely based on a partially coloured drawing by Banks’ botanical artist Sydney Parkinson.

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