An illustrated book documenting 30 iconic trees native to the Western Ghats, through 80 illustrations of the tree form, leaves, flowers, fruit and seeds.

Proceeds go toward the Anamalai Rainforest Restoration Trust.

Authored by Dr Divya Mudappa and Dr TR Shankar Raman of the Nature Conservation Foundation

Botanical Illustrations by Nirupa Rao

5 additional sketches by Sartaj Ghuman

Foreword by noted environmentalist Pradip Krishen:


“I am particularly delighted to discover Nirupa Rao’s illustrations, which combine a beautiful lambent quality with what is obviously the result of careful study. Her rendering of light and texture and translucence is delicious! Botanic artists of this calibre are rare in this country, probably for the same sorts of reasons that we turn our backs on our indigenous plant wealth…”

“It’s taken almost two centuries for a Nirupa Rao to arrive on the scene to pick up the threads of their [19th c artists’] work and I won’t be at all surprised if she sets off a whole new trend in botanical illustration in India. I’m going to look out for her!”


A book for anyone over age 9, featuring 'charismatic' plants of the Western Ghats—the weird and the whacky, the carnivorous and the parasitic, the stinky and the unimaginably valuable.  

It will be translated into regional languages and distributed among schools in the vicinity of the Wester Ghats.

This project was awarded a National Geographic Young Explorer's Grant. 

Collaborators: Photographer Prasenjeet Yadav, botanist Siddarth Machado and writer Suniti Rao.

Some excerpts, in no particular order:

WILD SHAALE (upcoming)

Introducing a plant module to the existing ‘Wild Shaale’ ('Wild School') program: an initiative designed to nurture interest in wildlife, educate children on coexisting with wildlife and coping with loss. My digital illustrations will be ‘gamified’ to engage children with plant behaviours and interactions, reaching 50 schools and 2500 children in areas surrounding nature reserves in Karnataka,     where human-wildlife conflict is high.

Collaborators: Conservationist Dr Krithi Karanth and photographer/educator Gabby Salazar

Some sample illustrations:


Cover illustrations for author Amitav Ghosh's new novel Gun Island, as well as illustrations for re-jacketing 3 of his previous novels, to be published by Penguin-Random House

Some sample illustrations:


Harper's Bazaar India (2018)

Chickpea vegan quarterly (2017)

Medicor (a publication of Karolinska Institutet) (2015)


www.nirupa-rao.com | Botanical Illustrator

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