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Original Acrylic ACEO:
" Colenso's Spaniard " - High Mountain Plant.

This heavily-armed plant, with leaves 1-2 feet long, has a flower stalk that can reach 8 feet in height, also armed with spikes. The name "Aciphylla" is from the Greek meaning "needle-leaved" and that is no exaggeration.

The species in this painting - named Aciphylla colensoi after Rev William Colenso * (1811-1899), explorer and botanist, inhabits landscapes of the New Zealand high country in both islands, making itself at home in some of the most inhospitable habitats this country has to offer.

I photographed this one near the highest point of the Southern Crossing in the Tararuas, just north of Wellington. New Zealand has 39 species, all endemic and all high country dwellers.

The spikes, surprisingly enough, are not a protective feature. They are part of the adaptation of the species to dry habitats, which one would not expect to find in this "green" country.  Obviously a reflection of our climatic history.

Original ACEO painted on 160gsm Arches Dessein Art Paper mounted on card. Overall size is 2.5 in by 3.5 in.

Sold - Texas USA.

* Since I've mentioned Colenso, I'd like to treat you to an awesome Outback Poem written by my good friend Trevor Crabtree - bushman, balladier and rodeo rider. Trevor has a very special poem dedicated to William Colenso:

Colenso's Mug

High in the Ruahines
Off a steep and narrow trail
Two thousand feet above a stream
Lies waiting, Colenso's Grail.
Waiting for eager, thirsting lips
To drink from it once more
To taste again the cold clear spring,
Like wine from the Mountain's core.

Silver Mug with Silver Chain
Fastened to a log.
Tapu to all Maori Tribes,
Caressed by Morning Fog.
Very few have heard of it
Fewer yet have seen,
But thanks to my friends Vic and Ian,
It's one place I have been.

Leave your dreary fireside,
Come walking where I know
Up the Makaroro
Where Colenso used to go.
Climb the Ruahines
Work up a raging thirst,
And if you find Colenso's Mug,
Remember : He drinks first.

Trevor Crabtree - "Buy Me A Beer".

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