Rojasianthe Superba

This Rojasianthe superba, sometimes called “White Sunflower Tree,” was growing in the entry garden of San Francisco Botanical Garden, where (with permission) I cut this specimen.

The seeds of Rojasianthe were collected by a botanist on the slopes of a volcano in Guatemala, and sent to the garden to propagate. Currently, only San Francisco Botanical Garden and UC Berkeley grow this amazing specimen outside of its native habitat.

San Francisco’s moist, relatively warm, and sunny climate make it ideal for growing plants that are originally from cloud forests in subtropical high-mountain ecosystems, where these flora may be endangered in the wild.

Rojasianthe superba © Harold Davis

After cutting the specimen (special thanks to SFBG!) we brought it back to my studio across the Bay in Berkeley in water with a growing medium added. On the light box, I used six exposures with my Nikkor 85mm tilt-shift macro, each exposure at ISO 64 and an adjusted aperture of f/64. Shutter speeds ranged from 2/5 of a second to 13 seconds. The exposures were combined using Photoshop as explained here and here and placed on a virtual scanned-paper background as explained here.

Perhaps this image will be a print in my exhibition at San Francisco Botanical Garden’s Helen Crocker Russell Library of Horticulture coming up in June, 2023.

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