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  • Writer's pictureElizabeth De Cicco

Final Classes at NYBG and a new Botany Season

It has been a year since I first started taking Botanical Illustration Classes through NYBG. I am currently finishing up my final assignments for Drawing III and thinking of subjects for my final portfolio. My only remaining core classes are Colored Pencils and Pen & Ink.


I am really looking forward to starting my final portfolio. I think my topic will be rare ferns of NJ. I need to do some research on their lifecycles to make sure that I catch them at all the appropriate stages. These are a few that I have seen in the wild that I might illustrate:

  1. Schizaea pusilla, Curly Grass Fern, May-September

    1. 4" tall. This species is rare, but I have permission to collect a research voucher if I document it correctly from a certain location.

  2. Lygodium palmatum, Climbing Fern, September ?

    1. ~1ft tall

  3. Ophioglossum sp. , Adder's tongue, May

    1. 2" tall. I found this once, but I'm not sure that I could relocate it. The fertile fronds develop at the peak of mosquito season. I'd consider this species too rare to collect, regardless of where it was growing. I would need to measure, sketch, and do color studies on site.

  4. Botrychium sp., grape fern or moonwort

    1. ~1ft tall. I see a few of these every year, but I need to key them out and learn the species. I usually see single specimens.

I did a "practice" field illustration day that I will include in my next post. I think I will try to do this at least once a month from now on. If I can keep this up, I might change my final portfolio subject. Ferns will be tricky to do in the field!


Botany season has officially begun and I've already found a few rare species:

  1. Viola brittoniana var. brittoniana, Britton's Coast Violet, S3 found along a roadside in the pine barrens

  2. Uvularia puberal var. nitida, Pine barren Bellwort, S2, single specimen found growing with Trailing arbutus (also flowering, but preparing to go to fruit)

  3. Carex barrattii, Barratt's sedge. No longer tracked by NJ DEP, but protected by the Pinelands Commission

  4. Eastern Box turtle. Species of Concern in NJ due to habitat fragmentation and illegal trade. Tracked by NJ Fish and Wildlife.

  5. Sphagnum cyclophyllum, S2, growing with Sphagnum pylaesiii









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