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The problem with using a field guide from 1982 is that sometimes, species names have changed. Since I’m away from home for several days, I scribbled the common names of the trees I’ll be drawing this week in my journal so I wouldn’t have to bring the field guide along. Then I looked up today’s tree, Torrey vauquelinia, and I couldn’t find any such thing online. There are a lot of trees named after John Torrey, but most, if not all, are conifers. If I had the field guide with me, I could check the scientific name, or look up other common names and the description, and probably find the corresponding tree online.

Since I don’t have the book, I mentioned my problem on Facebook, and two friends who love doing research dove right in. Aleks’s best guess is this: Vauquelinia californica, common name Arizona rosewood. Why is Arizona in the common name and California in the scientific name? What happened to the John Torrey connection? Is this the tree that appears next in my field guide? Some of these questions may be answered soon. In the meantime, it is a leaf, and I drew it, and that’s the most important thing.


An experiment in simplicity. I used only three tones: one dark, one light, and the unmarked paper. I think it’s very expressive, in spite of or because of this limitation.

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