In 1863 Heade took the first of three trips to South America, with an amateur naturalist, the Reverend C. J. Fletcher, to do studies for a projected (though never published) book on hummingbirds. As an outgrowth of that experience, Heade made a large number of paintings of birds and flowers, especially orchids, in a tropical setting. In this way he combined his main interests of still life and landscape — a union of themes he maintained in his work into the 20th century. The paintings are characterized by meticulous and precise rendering of detail and high-keyed luminescent color.
(Text courtesy of The Cleveland Museum of Art).