Free Download: Vintage Botanical Printables

By: Matt allison Sep 26, 2012

created at: 09/25/2012

Over the the past year, I've been collecting vintage natural history prints from various thrift stores, car boot sales and markets for our gallery wall.

In laying them out I discovered that I had a few empty spaces I wanted to fill and stumbled across this great resource: Botanicus.

Founded by the Missouri Botanical Garden Library, the project aims to digitize and catalog vintage and rare horticultural volumes, making them accessible to anyone with an interest in natural history.

There are hundreds of titles available, though this one has particularly beautiful plates.

Using the pages tab scroll down to the plates to view them and then download the volume as a high resolution PDF.

And now, you have access to an amazing collection of prints to create your own inexpensive artworks.


[via Honey & Fritz.]

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This is wonderful, thank you so much for sharing.

thanks alot :X :X

just wanted to drop a huge thanks for sharing this amazing source, it's people like you that keep the little known stuff alive, for which people like me looking for it, owe you big time! Thanks again, been looking everywhere for this kind of stuff and your blogpost was a lifesaver

Must thank you again for the tip to this resource. It's hijacked my afternoon and will prove invaluable for some research I need to do.

The plates I refered to earlier re. printing were from Kohler's Medizinal Pflantzen. 

This is VERY helpful! Thank you!

Hi Karina, trial and error! Honestly, I've tried several of them at A4 (a little larger than letter size) on my home printer and the've come out great on standard inkject paper, not so much on photographic paper, but that could be my printer/paper combo, not the images. You can also try going to a copy shop and have them print a 1 for 1 high res copy, then have them scan it at a higher resoultion, which you can then blow up further to larger sizes. Hope that helps! Matt

Thanks for leading us to this site. Love it! What's your advice on pri ting them? Optimal size, paper to use, etc?

TY Dan, finally figured it out.

Here's the simplest way to get to an image, so you can get an idea of what this library is like. In the search box at top of the page, search for Curtis. Results should show a couple of results titled Botanical Magazine. Click on the first, with the dates 1790-1800. Now at left you will see one-word descriptions of each page. Click on Plate 1, or Plate 2, and you will see a Curtis botanical print.

Hi Becky,

Thanks for your detailed instructions and input. Much appreciated!


To the folks who are having issues, follow this link as an example. The box to the left that says ...text, blank page, text, text.... scroll down in that box until you see one that says 'plate' and viola, you have a photo of a botanical. If you use the drop down key above it, you will find other books. It might take a while to find one you like, but they are FREE! If you get an engineering print at Staples (or anyother big printing shop) you can get a great poster for a fraction of the price. 

Good luck! 

I too am having a hard time finding the pages tab. There are the Titles, Authors, Maps tabls up at the top, but none that say pages. Perhaps a different link it required? Thanks!

I'm with Anonymous. I can't find that "plates" link you mention and I'm having to comb through the books individually. Can you update your directions? I think the site must have changed. 

I now have Norton and a zip opener, neither of which I needed, but no botanical prints to be found.

Hi Laura, when you load the Botanicus website you'll see the "Pages" section in the top left hand part of the screen, use the scrollbar to scroll down to the "plates", click on them and the images load in the preview window.

I am trying to look for printable botanic pics on this site that I are talking about and I can not find what you have described as plates? Can you please explain how to get to it in more detail please. Thanks

This is fantastic!! 

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