Picture Profile 2009: Apium nodiflorum (Fool’s water cress)

Apium nodiflorum (Fool’s water cress) Botanical Illustration

Artist Code 2009. Apium nodiflorum (Fool’s water cress) Completed 24th May 2020. Original water colour on Aquarelle Arches 140lb 100% cotton rag, 12″ x 9″. (50 Limited Edition prints)

This little painting of the aquatic plant Apium nodiflorum was produced for book 4 in the River Friend Series I am co-authoring and illustrating with Sylvia M. Haslam entitled “INTERPRET: What do Plants tell us?”, and is published as a colour plate , Figure 31.

This plant is very similar to another aquatic plant, Berula erecta (Lesser water parsnip), and the two are very easily confused with one another when submerged new growth appears like a green carpet. It is not until the flowers appear (at different times of the year) that they can easily be distinguished, although Apium nodiflorum is a very robust plant and can sprawl over anything and Berula erecta is a lot more dainty.

Apium-Berula carpet to show how similar the two plants look when growing together

There was plenty of live material around where I live, which was most useful. But I did have to wait several months to complete the two paintings because they flowered at different times – and it was only then that I began to understand their subtle differences, and I like to think the two are now individually identifiable using the text and pictures in the little book.

All aquatic plant species which live along and in the rivers and streams are extremely good indicators of the health and wealth of a waterway and the River Friend Series of little books is intended to help anyone interested in rivers to understand how important are the plants and how, for instance, they are affected by pollution and by the water source drying up. There will be around 17 titles published in time. Please visit the River Friend Website for a list of the latest published titles.

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