Sharon Field
Telopea speciosissima (Waratah)

Telopea speciosissima (Waratah)

Watercolour on vellum 2012

This was a very formal and traditional botanical study of the Waratah, designed to show the various parts of the flower and the rarely observed seedpods. The Telopea was proclaimed the official floral emblem of New South Wales on 24 October 1962. Robert Brown (1773-1858) named the genus Telopea in 1810 from specimens collected in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney. The generic name Telopea is derived from the Greek ‘telopos’, meaning ‘seen from afar’, and refers to the great distance from which the crimson flowers are discernible. The specific name speciosissima is the superlative of the Latin adjective ‘speciosus’, meaning ‘beautiful’ or ‘handsome’. ‘Waratah’, the Aboriginal name for the species, was adopted by early settlers at Port Jackson.

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