A Rare Botanical Legacy
Del Norte County is one of the most botanically diverse regions of California. In 1936, when Ruby Van Deventer, at the time an unschooled enthusiast, met California's lead field botanist, Professor Willis Linn Jepson, he was enthusiastic. ''I am glad to meet someone from Del Norte,'' he said as he shook Ruby's hand. ''We have the least knowledge of that area of anywhere in the state.''
Jepson, author of the authoritative botanical text The Jepson Manual, encouraged Ruby's botanical collecting and pushed her to learn taxonomy and plant anatomy. As Ruby increased her efforts, Arthur began to illustrate her plants with pen-and-ink drawings and watercolor paintings. Over the years, they compiled a vast flora of Del Norte County--over four hundred specimens, which are now in the Jepson Herbarium at the University of California, Berkeley.
A lavish production with more than 128 illustrations of over 120 specimens of the North Coast region, A Rare Botanical Legacy is a long-overdue testament to the Van Deventers' contributions to California botany. David Rains Wallace's introductory essay brings their irrepressible personalities to life and the beautiful reproductions of the paintings inspire a closer look at nature.