The Albany Pitcher Plant by Dr Anna Voytsekhovich
The idea of painting Albany Pitcher Plant came to me a few years ago, during my volunteering for the “Plants with Bite” organised by the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney. At that time I was very impressed and inspired by various carnivorous plants including the unique Australian Cephalotus follicularis.
Since then I was collecting the information about it and any visual material I could get. I have learned that the genus Cephalotus was monotipic (which means it consists of only one species) is listed by the IUCN as a Vulnerable species. Despite its status as a species in the wild, people can buy the Albany Pitcher plant as a cultivated plant. Its wild population, which is restricted to the narrow coastal strip in extreme South-western areas of Australia, has significantly declined due to habitat loss and over-collecting by poachers.
I decided to borrow a living specimen from one of the collectors and paint this little plant. I wanted to help attract public attention to the fragility of this native species. And I hope my plan worked out.
However, later I also found that as with most of the other organisms on our planet this sublime plant is tightly connected to the other species, like for example, the larvae of an ant that resembles a wingless fly Badisis ambulans. It seems that Albany Pitcher Plant plays an essential role in the development of these rare creatures.
Finding these symbionts together in nature and illustrating their relationships is now in my ‘to-do-list’, and that will be the whole new story :)
This botanical artwork won the best in show at the Botanical Artists Society of Australia (BASA) Exhibition, currently being held at the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show. The exhibition is open until 2 April 2023 at the Royal Exhibition Building, Carlton Gardens, Melbourne.