Botanical cats

painting of a plant with long leaves 

This year's advent calendar features cats from National Museums Liverpool's collections and displays, so you probably wouldn't expect to see any plants in here. However, our botanists have pointed out that even their collections include some cat-themed items!

Catkins (pictured)

This watercolour shows the female catkins of Black Poplar (Populus nigra), which is the most endangered of our native timber trees in Britain. 

Catkins are a cluster of single-sexed flowers arranged around a stem, forming a spike. They tend to be found on woody trees and shrubs such as Poplar, Beech and Willow. 

The painting is from artist: Georg Dionysius Ehret’s work ‘Deliciae Botanicae’ (1732), which originally belonged to the Earl of Derby of Knowsley Hall. Ehret (1708-1770) was born in Heidelberg, Germany. He is recognised as an outstanding botanical artist, his work appears in the publications of Trew's 'Plantae Selectae' (1750). He also worked alongside Carl Linnaeus and produced the illustrations for 'Hortus cliffortianus' (1738).

This image is taken from the botany collection at World Museum. Accession number LIV.2001.32.147 'Deliciae Botanicae' (1732), original watercolours. 

Other botanical plants

Dandelions (Taraxacum sp.) belong to the Daisy family (Asteraceae) and are native to Europe, Asia and North America. The common name ‘Dandelion’, comes from an altered version of the French ‘dent de lion’. This translates as ‘lion’s tooth’ and refers to the deeply toothed leaves.

The botany collection at World Museum includes hundreds of botanical specimens of dandelion, as well as the following feline-themed plants:

  • Cat’s-ear (Hypochaeris spp.)
  • Leopard’s-bane (Doronicum spp.)
  • Leopardplant (Ligularia spp.)