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by Deb Shaw

Erythrina caffra, Coral Tree, original watercolor by Joan Keesey, © 2015, all rights reserved.

Erythrina caffra, Coral Tree, original watercolor by Joan Keesey, © 2015, all rights reserved.

The Botanical Artists Guild of Southern California (BAGSC), in conjunction with Dr. Jennifer Funk and students from the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Chapman University, will be opening an exhibition of botanical art entitled “An Illuminating Look at Legumes.”

Held in conjunction with the 10th Anniversary of the Chapman University Leatherby Libraries, the exhibition explores the large, economically important plant family Fabaceae or Leguminosae, commonly known as legumes, peas, or beans.

Exhibit dates:
Thursday, February 19 – Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Artists’ Reception and Demonstrations:
Wednesday, February 25, 2015
5:30 p.m.

Doy and Dee Henley Reading Room
Leatherby Libraries, 2nd Floor, Chapman University
One University Drive, Orange, California 92866

Legumes are the third largest flowering plant family on earth, after orchids (Orchidaceae) and daisies (Asteraceae). They are incredibly diverse, ranging from huge trees, twining, vigorous vines to small delicate annuals and even a few aquatic plants. They grow all over the world, except in Antarctica and the high Arctic.

Many legumes have a unique ability to fix atmospheric nitrogen through their root nodules, and, in doing so can replenish our soils and colonize barren areas.

Accompanied by interesting descriptions of the plants by Dr. Funk, her students and BAGSC members, the artists have depicted members of this family that are important agriculturally; thrive in desert and semi-arid environments; are weedy and invasive; and grow as trees.

Artists include: Cristina Baltayian, Melanie Campbell-Carter, Diane Daly, Estelle DeRidder, Cynthia F. Jackson, Clara Josephs, Joan Keesey, Suzanne Kuuskmae, Patricia A. Mark, Arillyn Moran-Lawrence, Terri Munroe, Alyse Ochniak, Robyn Reilman, Mitsuko Schultz, Janice Sharp, Deborah B. Shaw, and Jude Wiesenfeld.

This exhibition has been sponsored by BAGSC, Chapman University Leatherby Libraries, and Chapman University Schmid College of Science and Technology.

For exhibit hours please visit:

Visitor parking near the Leatherby Libraries is available for $2.00 – $3.00 and may be purchased from the permit dispenser. For more detailed parking information, fees, maps and directions to Chapman University, please visit:

by Diane Daly, Dr. Jennifer Funk, and Deb Shaw

Caesalpinia pulcherrima, Red Bird of Paradise, or Mexican Bird of Paradise, watercolor by Diane Daly, © 2013, all rights reserved.

Caesalpinia pulcherrima, Red Bird of Paradise, or Mexican Bird of Paradise, watercolor by Diane Daly, © 2013, all rights reserved.

If you’re looking for additional “legume” inspiration during the holidays, we have two lists for you. The first was developed for us by Dr. Jennifer Funk, Associate Professor in the Schmid College of Science and Technology, Chapman University. This is a brief list of just a few representative legumes, showing the wide variety of plants in this fascinating family:

Agricultural legumes

  • Glycine max (soybean)
  • Medicago sativa (alfalfa)
  • Phaseolus vulgaris (common bean)
  • Pisum sativum (pea)

Legumes in desert and semi-arid ecosystems

  • Acmispon – dozens of species including Acmispon glaber (deerweed) which is an early colonizer following fire, and the very beautiful Acmispon wrangelianus, which can tolerate harsh serpentine soils
  • Astragalus – dozens of beautiful milkvetch species, including rare natives like Astragalus claranus, Astragalus clevelandii, and Astragalus funereus
  • Caesalpinia pulcherrima
  • Calliandra eriophylla
  • Dalea mollissima
  • Hosackia – many species with spectacular flowers including Hosackia stipularis
  • Lathyrus – many species including the lovely beach-goer Lathyrus littoralis
  • Lupinus – many species with yellow or purple flowers, and slender herbs to large shrubs
  • Pediomelum californicum
  • Pickeringia montana (chaparral pea)
  • Psorothamnus – several species with spectacular flowering stalks
  • Trifolium – a diverse genus of clovers including my favorite Trifolium depauperatum (cowbag clover)

Weedy and invasive legumes

  • Acacia dealbata
  • Genista monspessulana (French broom)
  • Medicago polymorpha (burclover)
  • Melilotus officinalis
  • Spartium junceum (Spanish broom)
  • Trifolium hirtum
  • Vicia sativa

Leguminous trees

  • Acacia dealbata
  • Acacia koa, Hawaiian tree used for beautiful reddish wood
  • Bauhinia species (can be found at arboretums)
  • Cercis occidentalis (western redbud)
  • Erythrina – many species can be found at arborteums
  • Olneya tesota (ironwood)
  • Prosopis glandulosa (mesquite)
  • Sophora chrysophylla (mamane), a Hawaiian tree that provides food for the endangered Palila bird

The second list is of “Artist’s Choices,” legume subjects BAGSC members have painted, are painting, or are thinking about painting. Don’t panic if you see something you’ve painted (or are thinking of painting) on the following list. This is only a preliminary list, and it’s always fun to see the same subject painted by different people. If you haven’t sent your subject to Diane Daly, please do so. We will be using our subject lists to develop educational outreach materials with Jennifer’s students.

  • Melanie Campbell-Carter: Snail vine (Viga caracalla)
  • Diane Daly: Pink trumpet tree (Tabebuia impetiginosa), Mexican Bird of Paradise (Caesalpinia pulcherrima)
  • Clara Josephs: Desert false indigo with dogface butterfly, Carob tree
  • Joan Keesey: Wisteria, Coral Tree, Lupine
  • Suzanne Kuuskmae: Lupine, wisteria
  • Pat Mark: Hyacinth bean
  • Mitsuko Schultz: Sweet pea (Lathyrus odoratus)
  • Deborah Shaw: Castanospermum australe, Papago Bean/seeds, Acacia (wattle bush)
  • Patty VanOsterhoudt: Desert Museum x Parkinsidium Parkinsonia x Cercidium (Palo Verde)
  • Leslie Walker: Delonix regia

Happy painting!

By Diane Daly and Deb Shaw

The plans for the BAGSC/Chapman University Leatherby Library Legume Exhibition are coming together! Once again, January 2015 will be a busy month for BAGSC members, with exhibition deadlines and shows all arriving at the same time.

The theme of this Chapman exhibition will focus on botanical specimens of plants in the Legume Family (Leguminosae or Fabaceae). The third largest of all the vascular, flowering plants, legumes have approximately 630 genera and 18,000 species. Legumes are herbs, vines, shrubs and trees—all highly diverse and spread throughout most of the world.

Jennifer Funk‘s research students will be contributing to the educational outreach for this exhibition, writing descriptions of:

  • The family characteristics (what makes a legume a legume);
  • Their importance to agriculture and soils;
  • The legumes of the desert and survival adaptations in dry conditions;
  • The legumes that are nasty weeds in our yards;
  • The legumes that grow to be trees; and more.
Caesalpinia pulcherrima, Red Bird of Paradise, or Mexican Bird of Paradise, watercolor by Diane Daly, © 2013, all rights reserved.

Caesalpinia pulcherrima, Red Bird of Paradise, or Mexican Bird of Paradise, watercolor by Diane Daly, © 2013, all rights reserved.

We are hoping to show the widest variety possible of this fascinating and massive botanical plant family, and are coordinating our paintings with the research and educational outreach. Towards that goal, we would like to hear what plants BAGSC members are painting (or have painted) and are planning to submit. We will publish the list, along with any “gaps” and suggestions for plants that would fill those gaps if members are interested in adding those to their submissions. Please send information about your artwork (or artwork you are thinking about) to Diane Daly.

This exhibition will coincide with the Tenth Anniversary of the Leatherby Libraries. In conjunction with the Leatherby Libraries staff, we are planning invitations, brochure handouts, signage and a reception, as well as other possible educational and botanical art programs. We will need lots of volunteers; please let Diane know if you can help.

Important dates to remember:
Submission deadline: January 16, 2015
Acceptance notification: January 23, 2015
Artwork delivery: On or before February 17, 2015
Exhibition set-up: February 17, 2015
Tentative reception date: February 25, 2015, Leatherby Library, 2nd Floor, 5:30 pm
Exhibition end (and take down): March 26, 2015

Download the Entry Form by clicking this link: bagscChapmanLegume15. Have some ideas for a title? Send those to Diane too! (And yes, you may also send poems and lyrics along the lines of the children’s tune “Beans, beans, the musical fruit…”)

Happy painting!

March 2023

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