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.

Lear’s Nonsense Plants and Flowers

1Armchairia comfortabilis

2Bluebottlia Buzztilentia

3Bubblia Blowpipia

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4Bassia Palealensis

5Tigerlillia Terribilis

6Washtubbia Circularis

7Tickia Orologica

8Stunnia Dinnerbellia

9Shoebootia Utilis

10Minspysia Deliciosa

11Sophtsluggia Glutinosa

12Arthbroomia Rigida

13Nastiscreechia Krorluppia

14Jinglia Tinkettlia

15Enkoopia Chickabiddia

16Barkia Howlaloudia

17Pollybirdia Singularis

18Plumbunnia Nutritiosa

19Piggiawiggia Pyramidalis

20Phattfacia Stupenda

21Manypeeplia Upsidownia

22Guittara Pensilis

23Fishia Marina

24Guittara Pensilis

25Bottlephorkia Spoonifolia

26Queeriflora Babyöides

27Puffia Leatherbéllowsa

28Tureenia Ladlecum

29Knutmigrata Simplice

30Smalltoothcombia Domestica

31Crabbia Horrida

32Baccopipia Gracilis

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.