image catesbyrs vol286
Image number: RS.18830
Credit: ©The Royal Society

Custard apple tree and cecropia moth




Mark Catesby (1683-1749, British), Naturalist

Object type

Library reference





Content object

   > plant
      > fruit


Study of a semi-evergreen, custard apple treeAnnona reticulata, referred to here as Anona maxima, showing leaves, fruit and a single seed [above], alongside a cecropia moth, Hyalophora cecropia.

Written in the associated description: 'These Shrubs grow sometimes with a single Trunk, but more commonly they rise with several small Stems to the Height of about ten Feet, the Leaves are shaped like those of the Bay, set alternately on stiff slender Stalks, from which also hang single Flowers [...] The Fruit when ripe is of a roundish conic Form, covered with angular Protuberances, within which is a sweet insipid Pulp, with several shining black Seeds lodged therein.'

Plate 86 from volume II of Mark Catesby’s The natural history of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands (London, 1731).

Mark Catesby (1683-1749), British naturalist was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1733. Travelling under the auspices of the Royal Society, Catesby recorded the earliest western scientific descriptions of the flora and fauna of the ‘New World’. He was the first naturalist to use folio-sized colour plates in a natural history book, and etched the copper plates himself before hand-colouring each individual print with watercolours.

Associated place

<The World>
   > North America
      > United States
<The World>
   > North America
      > Bahamas