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Nita C Lester

Acacia holosericea 
strap wattle

Jalmenus evagoras subsp. evagoras
imperial hairstreak butterfly

Iridomyrmex sp.
attendant ant

2019, coloured pencil on paper
17 x 21 cm

 

Acacia holosericea 

coloured pencil on paper
27 x 22 cm

Collected 1770: Endeavour River

Collected 2018: Mapleton

The artwork is a portrait in two parts, one depicting the rod flowerheads and coiling seedpods on an uneaten branchlet; and the other depicting a special butterfly and ant relationship.

Jalmenus evagoras is a small butterfly notable for its unique mutualism with ants of the genus Iridomyrmex. The ants provide protection for the caterpillars and cues for adult mating behaviour. They are rewarded with food secreted from the butterfly larvae. The ants greatly enhance the survival and reproductive success of the butterflies.

Female butterflies are more likely to lay their eggs on acacias with ants. They can also tell the difference between different species of ants and identify the ones that are better suited to protect their young. Females can also sense the nutritional quality of the plant, such as the nitrogen and water content in the leaves.

Acacia suaveolens
sweet scented wattle

2019, pen and ink on paper
31.5 x 24 cm

Collected 1770: Botany Bay

Observed 2018: Mapleton

This delicate and sparse stippled drawing in pen and ink of Acacia suaveolens depicts early flowers forming to clusters within the slender plant form.

The green seeds, after steaming, are a traditional food for Indigenous peoples.

Kennedia rubicunda
dusky coral pea

2019, coloured pencil on paper
31 x 46 cm

Collected 1770: Botany Bay

Collected 2019: Mapleton

In fine colour pencil work, the artist has expressed the twining and scrambling habit of this vigorous climber. Long stems support glossy green leaves that are divided into three leaflets. The short raceme of deep red pea flowers is accompanied by depictions of the mature and empty seed pod that follows, with its twisting form for seed release.

Although not extensively cultivated, Kennedia rubicunda makes a long lasting addition to gardens in temperate to tropical areas.

© 2020 Botanical Artists’ Society Queensland