Listings: Possibly Extirpated, Tennessee; Endangered, Illinois, Kentucky
The Plant's Story
America’s Midwestern prairie has steadily declined during the last two hundred years, and now only fragments of the once expansive ecosystem remain. Some of North America’s most endangered plants and animals are prairie and grassland species. One of these is the royal catchfly, so named because it literally catches insects in the sticky base of the flower. Although appearing throughout the Midwest, its numbers are declining due to habitat alterations, picking and digging. Missouri is the only state with substantial populations remaining.
The Artist’s Story: Heeyoung Kim
I was introduced to this beautiful, rare species in the Chicago Botanic Garden’s Dixon Prairie in August 2007. My eyes were drawn to the red royal catchfly among hundreds of wildflowers dancing in the prairie garden. I did detailed pencil sketches and took notes about subtle changes as time passed. Since I live very close to the Garden I often go there with my sketchbook and camera. Based on my sketches I could compose the whole life cycle of the plant from buds to fruits.
More of the plant’s story and the artist’s story can be found in the exhibit catalog, available at the exhibition venues or online from the ASBA.