The Native Flora of Louisiana Collection contains watercolor drawings by world-renowned botanical artist Margaret Stones. The collection began in 1976, when Louisiana State University commissioned six watercolor drawings to celebrate the American bicentennial and the 50th anniversary of LSU's Baton Rouge campus. University officials hoped these drawings would combine art and science to document Louisiana's unique and varied flora.
Based on the popularity of the original six drawings, LSU decided to expand the Native Flora of Louisiana project to include 200 more drawings. Stones completed these drawings in 1987, and she continued to produce drawings on a yearly contract basis until 1989. The Native Flora of Louisiana project, part of the E. A. McIlhenny Natural History Collection in LSU Libraries Special Collections, consists of 224 drawings, all of which are housed in Hill Memorial Library along with other published works by Stones.
All watercolor drawings from the Native Flora of Louisiana project are available via the Louisiana Digital Library. LSU Press published two books featuring the collection: Flora of Louisiana (1991) and the folio edition, Native Flora of Louisiana (2018). Both feature detailed descriptions of the plants by botanist Dr. Lowell Urbatsch.
In 2020, LSU Libraries Special Collections presented the exhibition “Louisiana’s Natural Treasure: Margaret Stones, Botanical Artist” at Hill Memorial Library, featuring selected original watercolor paintings and archival materials related to the Native Flora of Louisiana project.
The exhibition catalog is available here via LSU Digital Commons.