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Tanya Hoolihan

Comesperma ericinum
pink matchheads

2019, watercolour, graphite on paper
36 x 23 cm

Collected 1770: Botany Bay

Collected 2018: Jilliby

A small, erect and slender shrub found on sandstone in heath and dry eucalypt forest.

The common name, pink matchheads, refers to the bright flower buds that cluster at the ends of branches. These open to pretty ‘winged’ flowers, portrayed here with sensitive detail.

Additional graphite drawing further expresses the plant form and habit, and its tendency to occur in dispersed clusters.

Lomandra longifolia subsp. longifolia
spiky head matrush

2019, watercolour, graphite on paper
29 x 38.5 cm

Collected 1770: Botany Bay

Collected 2019: Callaghan

The artist has portrayed detailed aspects of this native matrush. She communicates the clustering flower and seed formations with scientific purpose and accuracy. The dynamic and formal composition lends importance to a species often overlooked in our environments.

Lomandra longifolia, along with other related species of matrushes, has tough straplike leaves from which Indigenous peoples in eastern Australia make their baskets and string bags. The leaves are split into strips, dried, and softened for use by either soaking in water or being drawn through ashes.

Matrush flowers are eaten, as are the tender white bases of the leaves, both tasting like fresh green peas.

Melaleuca quinquenervia
broad leaved paperbark

2019, graphite on paper
31 x 19.5 cm

Collected 1770: Bay of Inlets, Bustard Bay

Collected 2019: Toukley

The artist has produced a comprehensive study of Melaleuca quinquenervia. Fascinating details are beautifully arranged upon a background of forest habitat in this sensitive graphite drawing. Taking a scientific approach, presenting annotated components in black and white, the artist has incorporated depictions of the habit and habitat to further express the plant story. Tonal gradations in the drawing gently lead and focus the viewer’s attention.

Broad leaved paperbark grows in seasonally inundated plains and swamps, along estuary margins and is often the dominant species. The flowers serve as a rich food source for a wide range of insect, bird and animal species.

Melaleuca quinquenervia is widely used by Indigenous peoples. A brew made from bruised, young, aromatic leaves is traditionally used to treat colds, headaches and general sickness. The paper like bark is used for making coolamons, shelter, wrapping baked food and lining ground ovens. The nectar is extracted by washing in water and consumed as a beverage.

© 2020 Botanical Artists’ Society Queensland