Endangered Plants Exhibit

With over 20% of our world’s plants at risk of extinction, the American Society of Botanical Artists is presenting a travelling exhibit.  “Losing Paradise? Endangered Plants Here and Around the World” is set to open at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History on August 14, 2010.

forest researchWith 50,000 species of plants yet to be scientifically described, there’s a risk that many species will lose their habitats quicker than scientists are able to study them.  Methods are being devised that will enable the most endangered species to be evaluated much faster.  This is crucial because plant species are not listed as endangered or even threatened until scientists have done conservation assessments.  These assessments involve using data (population numbers or habitat size) based on time-consuming research to verify a particular species’ risk of extinction.

Scientists are trying to assemble information on known plants, along with botanical artists who capture the plants’ appearances.  Their work will be showcased in the new exhibit.  The exhibit will highlight global conservation and educate the general public about endangered, threatened and extinct plants, according to Art Daily.  Botanical illustrations from numerous renowned artists, which form a new historical record of plant species, will be displayed.

PeoniesAlong with the scientific images, a catalog coauthored by exhibition curator and conservation biologist Gary Krupnick will be part of the exhibit.  The catalog will reveal stories about individual plants in the exhibit.

As well, the Smithsonian will offer free programs to educate visitors about the vital role scientific illustration plays in conservation.  There will be live illustrating programs on Mondays beginning August 16 and continuing right through to December 12, 2010, when the exhibit ends.  To learn how to get involved in plant conservation please check out the following website.

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