image catesbyrs vol289
Image number: RS.18833
Credit: ©The Royal Society

Northern needleleaf




Mark Catesby (1683-1749, British), Naturalist

Object type

Library reference





Content object

   > plant
   > animal
      > insect


Botanical study of a Northern needleleaf, Tillandsia balbisiana, referred to here as Viscum cariophylloides angustifolium, showing its roots, leaves and flowers. A Carolina grasshoper, Dissosteira carolina, is visible in the top left corner.

Written in the associated description: 'what recommends this useful and very singular Plant is, that its hollow Leaves lapping over one another, are so closely placed, that one Plant will contain two Quarts of clear Water. In many Countries between the Tropicks that are destitue of Water, having neither Springs nor Rivers, these Plants abound, and are of great Benefit in relieving the Thirsty in Distress'.

Plate 89 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