Musings While Painting a Deadly Nightshade
by Elaine Jek
To visually document the varied plants on Alcatraz Island, the Northern California Society of Botanical Artists and the Golden Gate Park National Parks Conservancy created a florilegium. The White-Margined Nightshade, Solanum Marginatum was one of the 127 prints selected for the Alcatraz Florilegium.
It most likely arrived as a volunteer plant on the island, brought by wild birds and existed during the times when Alcatraz Island was a prison for hardened criminals. Apparently the late Huell Howser on the show "California's Gold" confirmed with a docent that this exact plant was historically accurate to the period.
Covered in thorns this unusual plant announces in no subtle way that it is lethal. Solanum marginatum so intrigued me, I wrote an article on it and it is published in this quarter's issue of Botanical Artist, September 2017 Volume 23, Issue 3.
The first print of the watercolor will be on view a week from now, on September 16, 2017 – January 17, 2018 on Alcatraz Island.