A Specimen of the Botany of New Holland

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
A Specimen of the Botany of New Holland
A specimen of the botany of New Holland - p. i.png
Title Page
Author James Edward Smith
Illustrator James Sowerby
Subject Flora of Australia
Genre Botany
Publisher James Sowerby
Publication date
1793 to 1795 (4 parts)
Pages 40 text
16 colour plates
James Sowerby's plate of Embothrium speciosissimum, now Telopea speciosissima (New South Wales Waratah)

A Specimen of the Botany of New Holland, also known by its standard abbreviation Spec. Bot. New Holland, was the first published book on the flora of Australia.[1] Written by James Edward Smith and illustrated by James Sowerby, it was published by Sowerby in four parts between 1793 and 1795. It consists of 16 colour plates of paintings by Sowerby, mostly based on sketches by John White, and around 40 pages of accompanying text. It was presented as the first volume in a series, but no further volumes were released.[2]


The work began as a collaboration between Smith and George Shaw. Together they produced a two-part work entitled Zoology and Botany of New Holland, with each part containing two zoology plates and two botany plates, along with accompanying text. These appeared in 1793, although the publications themselves indicate 1794. The collaboration then ended, and Shaw went on to independently produce his Zoology of New Holland. Smith's contributions to Zoology and Botany of New Holland became the first two parts of A Specimen of the Botany of New Holland, a further two parts of which were issued in 1795.[3]

Australian plants listed[edit]

The book contained details of the following Australian plants:[4]


  1. ^ "A specimen of the botany of New Holland". State Library of Queensland. Retrieved 2007-06-22. 
  2. ^ "Specimen of the Botany of New Holland". International Plant Names Index (IPNI). Retrieved 2007-06-22. 
  3. ^ Hewson, Helen (1999). Australia: 300 years of botanical illustration. Collingwood, Victoria: CSIRO Publishing. ISBN 0-643-06366-8. 
  4. ^ Smith, James Edward (1793). A Specimen of the Botany of New Holland. London: James Sowerby.