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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
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Drawing of a botanical specimen

Our Scientist and Illustrator Describe Their Work

Our planet's rich diversity of plant life is currently at risk. Ecosystems are changing rapidly, and more than 20% of the world's flora is threatened with extinction. In most cases, plants become endangered due to human activities, and human efforts will be needed to reverse this trend.

Scientists are racing to gather information on known plants and to document the estimated 50,000 plant species that have never been scientifically described. Botanical artists work alongside them to capture plant diversity for future generations and remind us about our own vanishing botanical wealth.

Losing Paradise? Endangered Plants Here and Around the World, a traveling exhibition developed by the American Society of Botanical Artists (ASBA), explores the conservation efforts of scientists and illustrators around the globe. The exhibition will be open to the public at the National Museum of Natural History, First Floor, from August 14 - December 12, 2010. Visitors to the exhibit will see 44 botanical illustrations, live plants, and specimens of rare and endangered plants from the Museum’s collection.

Preserved plant specimen, a plant illustration, and drawing tools

This traveling exhibition is organized by the American Society of Botanical Artists (ASBA), a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting public awareness of botanical art, its traditions, and its growth into the new millennium.

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