NOTE: All member and nonmember tickets must be reserved in advance, and masks are now optional but recommended. Learn more about how you can join us!

Virtual Exhibit Now Open
Southwestern PA Native Plants with a Spotlight on Caterpillars

Enjoy beautiful illustrations of flora native to Pittsburgh and southwestern Pennsylvania!

In this virtual exhibit, plant lovers of all ages can now enjoy stunning illustrations of plants native to the southwestern Pennsylvania region. Southwestern PA Native Plants with a Spotlight on Caterpillars is part of the Flora Project, a collaboration between Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens' Botanical Art and Illustration Program, and the Allegheny Highlands Botanical Art Society. This exhibit will also be on display in the Welcome Center Gallery starting Fri., Oct. 28 through Sun., Jan. 8. Stay tuned for more details! 

Native plants are essential to our ecosystem, as they maintain complex and specific relationships with insects that help maintain our local food chain. They are the ecological basis upon which life depends, including countless species from birds to humans.

This year, Flora participants studied native plants with a highlight of caterpillars that have the greatest impact on terrestrial ecosystems: those that contribute the most energy to local food webs and those responsible for most of the pollination required by plants. Through the use of watercolor, pen and ink, and colored pencil, the illustrators honed in on the intricate integration of caterpillars and their unqiue role in the lives of native plants. The balance of caterpillars, other pollinators and fine details of the native plants portraits display an elegant balance of mulitple life cycles of inscets and the benefits they provide to native plants. 

Witch-hazel (Hamamelis virginia), illustration by Abby Krick 

Elderberry (Sambucus canadensis), illlustration by Autumn Secrest 

River birch (Betula nigra), illustration by Betty Yee-Yates 

Garden phlox (Phlox paniculata), illustration by Brenda Jordan 

Staghorn sumac (Rhus typhina), illustration by Brenda Nemeth

Blue cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides), illustration by Else Arce

Virginia bluebells (Mertensia virginia), illustration by Gloria Blake 

Wild columbine (Aquilegia canadensis), illustration by Helen Coltellaro 

Black-eye Susan (Rudbeckia hirta), illustration by Holly Dobkin 

Winterberry (Ilex verticillata), illustration by Holly Johnson 

New England aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae (Aster)), illustration by Jan Wilson 

Eastern white pine (Pinus strobus), illustration by Jim Hansotte

Rosebay (Rhododendron maximum), illustration by Linda Hykes 

Bee-balm (Monarda didyma), illustration by Linda Tobin

Tulip poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera), illustration by Lisa Rasmussen 

Sugar maple (Acer saccharum), illustration by Lori Grunick 

Great blue lobelia (Lobelia siphilitica), illustration by Marguerite Matz

Beard-tongue (Penstemon digitalis), illustration by Maria Joseph 

Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca), illustration by Mary Reefer 

Sycamore (Platanus occidentalis), illustration by Melissa Fabian 

Virginia creeper vine (Parthenocissus quinquefolia), illustration by Pam DeSimone Romeo 

Persimmon (Diospyros virginiana), illustration by Raana Flemm

Little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium (A. scopanus), illustration by Robin Menard

Jack-in-the-pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum), illustration by Rosemarie Mazza

Redbud (Cercis canadensis), illustration by Sara Rivera 

Sassafras (Sassafras albidum), illustration by Stephanie Lind 

Swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata), illustration by Sue Ralston

Wild plum (Prunus americana), illustration by Tamara Swanson

For more information regarding Phipps' Botanical Art and Illustration Program or other adult classes, please visit or call 412-437-8308.

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