The Nonsense Botany of Edward Lear

Edward Lear's Nonsense Botany
Manypeeplia Upsidownia, From Edward Lear's Book of Nonsense, 1871.

Edward Lear drew several illustrations of imaginary plants, which he termed Nonsense Botany. Here is Lear’s complete collection of botanical drawings of silly plants and flowers.

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Lear’s Nonsense Plants and Flowers

1Armchairia comfortabilis

Arm chair plant drawing

2Bluebottlia Buzztilentia

Flies buzzing funny plant drawing

3Bubblia Blowpipia

Lear's bubble blower plant


4Bassia Palealensis

Bottles drawn as shrub

5Tigerlillia Terribilis

Tiger nonsense plant by Lear

6Washtubbia Circularis

wash tub funny drawing as a flower

7Tickia Orologica

Clocks on a plant drawing

8Stunnia Dinnerbellia

Bell flower drawn by Lear

9Shoebootia Utilis

Boots drawn as a flower

10Minspysia Deliciosa

Delicious Lear Plant

11Sophtsluggia Glutinosa

Slug plant by Lear

12Arthbroomia Rigida

Lear's broom plant

13Nastiscreechia Krorluppia

Worm nonsense plant

14Jinglia Tinkettlia

Tea pot plant

15Enkoopia Chickabiddia

Chicken Cage Funny plant

16Barkia Howlaloudia

Dog barking plant drawing

17Pollybirdia Singularis

Bird flower nonsense botany plant drawing

18Plumbunnia Nutritiosa

Lear's bunny tail plant

19Piggiawiggia Pyramidalis

Pig plant of Lear

20Phattfacia Stupenda

Big face Lear Nonsense Botany Drawing

21Manypeeplia Upsidownia

Kids upside-down funny Lear plant

22Guittara Pensilis

Guitar Nonsense Plant by Lear

23Fishia Marina

24Guittara Pensilis

25Bottlephorkia Spoonifolia

26Queeriflora Babyöides

Baby Nonsense Botany

27Puffia Leatherbéllowsa

Bellows Nonsense Botany

28Tureenia Ladlecum

Tureen and Ladle Nonsense Botany Plant

29Knutmigrata Simplice

Nutmeg Grater Nonsense Botany Plant

30Smalltoothcombia Domestica

Combs Edward Lear Nonsense Botany Plant

31Crabbia Horrida

Crab Edward Lear Nonsense Botany Plant

32Baccopipia Gracilis

Edward Lear Nonsense Botany Plant

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Brief History of Nonsense Botany By Edward Lear

Edward Lear’s drawings of nonsense plants are similar to Lewis Carroll’s use of portmanteau words, combining unlike items or into a singular unity, such as the using a common item like a hair comb, into the nonsensical plant-like form of Smalltoothcombia Domestica.

The use of fake Latin, and following the standard genus species nomenclature of plants, like rosa canina — which is the REAL name for dog rose — provides enough real-grounding to make Lear’s botany nonsense, utterly charming.

Lear’s Nonsense Botany was published in three parts in the following publications:

  • 1871, from Nonsense Songs, Stories, Botany and Alphabets
  • 1872, from More Nonsense Pictures, Rhymes Botany…
  • 1877, from Laughable Lyrics. A Fourth Book of Nonsense Poems, Songs, Botany…

Please note that all of Edward Lear’s original publications are freely available in the public domain.