Early botany books

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1568. William Turner. The first and seconde partes of the herbal.

dedicates it to Queen Elizabeth, who has "four tymes holpen me with your letters patentes"

of adversaries, "some of them will saye / seynge that I graunte that I have gathered this booke of so manye writers / that I offer unto you an heape of other mennis laboures / and nothing of myne owne / and that I goo about to make me frendes with other mennis travayles / and that a booke intreatinge onelye of trees / herbs and wedes / and shrubbes / is not a mete present for a prince. To whom I aunswere / that if the honye that the bees gather out of so manye floure of herbes / shrubbes / and trees / that are growing in other mennis medowes / feldes and closes : maye justelye be called the bees honye : and Plinies booke de naturali historia maye be called his booke / although he have gathered it oute of so manye good writers whom he vouchsaveth to name in the beginninge of his worke : So maye I call it that I have learned and gathered of manye good autours not without great laboure and payne my booke"

  • complains that "a craftie covetous and Popishe printer" recently put out his book without his name on it, or his preface attached, but with the printer's own preface, "as though the booke had bene his owne"

mandrake: part II, fol. 46

  • in England, "The rootes whiche are conterfited & made like little puppettes & mammettes / which come to be sold in England in boxes / with heir / & such forme as a man hath / are nothyng elles but folishe feined trides / & not naturall. For they are so trymmed of crafty theives to mocke the poore people with all / & to rob them both of theyr wit and theyr money. I have in my tyme at diverse tymes taken up the rootes of Mandrag out of the grounde / but I never saw any such thyng upon or in them / as are in and upon the pedlers rootes that are comenly to be solde in boxes."

1597. John Gerard. The Herball or Generall Historie of Plantes.

1597 edition: [1] (goose barnacle tree on pg 1391)

1636 edition expanded by Thomas Johnson: [2] (goose barnacle tree on pg. 1587)

dedicatory preface:

  • "For if delight may prouoke mens labour, what greater delight is htere than to behold the earth apparelled with plants, as with a robe of imbroidered worke, set with orient pearles, and garnished with great diuersitie of rare and costly iewels?"
  • points out that gardens sometimes come to ruin through the neglect of their successors; his book -- his writing and his print -- keep that from happening; book itself as a kind of "fruit of labors"
  • poem by Thomas Thorney: "Oft haue I heard, and oft haue read / In bookes of learned lore, / that Man, the name of Little world, / Or Microcosmos bore. / And rightly sure; whose minde doth range / The circled world about, / Whose head (a little Globe) conceiues / Each worldly thing throughout. / As this in all, so now in thee, / This thing appeereth trew / By speciall note (sweete Gerard) heere / In this thine Herball new. ... For in well viewing of the same / We neede not far to rome, / But may behold dame Natures store / By sitting still at home."
  • poem by W. Westerman: "The fruitfull earth he makes his daily booke, / And turnes such leaues as all his senses knowes"
  • set up as a uniquely English contribution to the study of plants
  • "This bookebirth thus brought foorth by Gerard, as it is in forme and disposition faire and comly, every species being referred to his likeliest genus, of whose stocke it came: so is it accomplished with surpassing varietie, to such spreading growth & strength of euerie lim, as that it may seeme some heroicall impe of illustrious race, able to draw the eies and expectation of euery man unto it."

at the end of the book, a few "plants" that seem uncategorizable

saunders tree:

  • seems to be the only tree depicted in as a comparative cross-section of a split of wood

stonie wood:

"Among the woonders of England this is one of great admiration, and contrarie vnto mans reaso nand capacitie, that there shoulde be a kind of woode alterable into the hardnes of a stone called Stonie woode, or rather a kinde of water, which hardneth woode and other things, into the nature and matter of stones. But we know that the works of God are woonderfull, if we do but narrowly search the least of them, which w daily beholde; much more if we turne our eies vpon those that are seldome seene, and known but of a fewe, and that of such as have painfully trauelled in the secrets of nature. This strange alteration of nature is to be seene in sundry parts of England and Wales, through the qualities of some waters and earth, which change such things into stones as do fall therein; or which are of purpose (for triall) put into them. In the north part of Englande, there is a Well neere vnto Knaesborough, which will change any thing into stone, whether it be wood, timber, leaves of trees, mosse, leather gloves or such like. There be diverse places in Bedforshire, Warwickshire and Wales, where there is ground of that qualitie, that if a stake be driven into it, that part of the stake which is within the ground will be a firme and hard stone, & al that which is aboue the earth retaineth his former substance and nature. Also my selfe being at rougby (about such time as our fantasticke people did with great concourse and multitudes, repaire and run headlong vnto the sacred wels of Newnam regis, in the edge of Warwickshire, as vnto the water of life, which could cure all diseases) I went from thence vnto these Wels, where I founde growing ouer the same a faire Ash tree, whose boughes did hang over the spring of water, whereof some that were seare and rotten, and some that of purpose were broken off, fell into the water, 7 were all turned into stones. Of these boughes, or parts of the tree, i brought vnto London, which when I had broken in peeces, therein might be seene that the pith and all the rest was turned into stones; yea many buds and flowrings of the tree falling into the saide water, were also turned into hard stones, still retaining the same shape & fashion that they were of before they were in the water. I doubt not but if this water were prooued about the hardning of some kinde of confections Phisicall, for the preseruation of them, or other speciall ends, it would offer greater occasion of admiration for the health and benefite of mankinde, then it doth about such things as alraedy haue beene experimented, tending to very little purpose." (1390)

barnacle goose tree:

"Having trauelled from the Grasses growing in the bottome of the fenny waters, the woods, and mountaines, euen vnto Libanus it selfe ; and also the sea, and bowels of the same: we are arriued to the end of out Historie, thinking it not impertinent to the conclusion of the same, to end with one of the mauels of this land (we may say of the world.) The Historie whereof to set foorth according to the woorthines and raritie thereof, woulde not onely require a large and peculiar volume, but also a deeper search into the bowels of nature, then my intended purpose wil suffer me to wade into, my insufficiencie also considered; leauing the historie thereof rough hewen, vnto some excellent men, learned in the secrets of nature, to be both fined and refined: in the meane space take it as it falleth out, the naked and bare truth, thought vnpolished. There are founde in the north parts of Scotland, & the Ilands adiacent, called Orchades, certaine trees, whereon doe growe certaine shell fishes, of a white colour tending to russet; wherein are conteined little liuing creatures: which shels in time of maturitie doe open, and out of them grow those little liuing things; which falling into the water, doe become foules, whom we call Barnakles, in the north of England Brant Geese, and in Lanshire tree Geese: but the other that do fall vpon the land, perish and come to nothing: thus much by the writings of others, and also from the mouths of people of those parts, which may very well accord with truth.
"But what our eies have seene, and hands have touched, we shall declare. There is a small Ilande in Lancashire called the Pile of Foulders, wherein are found the broken peeces of old and brused ships, some whereof haue beene cast thither by shipwracke, and also the trunks or bodies with the branches of old and rotten trees, cast vp there likewise: wheron is found a certaine spume or froth, that in time breedeth vnto certaine shels, in shape of those of the muskle, but sharper pointed, and of a whitish colour; wherein is conteined a thing in form like a lace of silke finely wouen, as it were togither, of a whitish colour; one ende whereof is fastned vnto the inside fo the shell, euen as the fish of Oisters and Muskles are; the other ende is made fast vnto the belly of a rude masse or lump, which in time commeth to the shape & forme of a Bird: when it is perfectly formed, the shel gapeth open, & the first thing that appeereth is the foresaid lace or string; next come the legs of the Birde hanging out; and as it groweth greater, it openeth the shell by degrees, till at length it is all come foorth, and hangeth onely by the bill; in short space after it commeth to full maturitie, and falleth into the sea, where it gathereth feathers, and groweth to a foule, bigger then a Mallard, and lesser then a Goos; hauing blacke legs and bill or beake, and feathers blacke and white, spotted in such maner as is our magge-Pie, called in some places a Pie-annet, which the people of Lancashire call by no other name then a tree Goose; which place aforesaide, and all those parts adioining, do so muich abound therewith, that one of the best is bought for three pence: for the truth heerof, if any doubt, may it please them to repaire vnto me, and I shall satisfie them by the testimonie of good witnesses." (1391-2)
"for trauelling vpon the shores of our English coast betweene Douer and Rumney, I founde the trunke of an olde rotten tree, which (with some helpe that I procured by fishermens wiues that were there attending their husbandes returne from the sea) we drewe out of the water vpon dry lande: on this rotten tree I founde growing many thousandes of long crimson bladders, in shape like vnto puddings newly filled before they be sodden, which were verie cleere and shining, at the neather end whereof did grow a shelfish, fashioned somwhat like a small Muskle, but much whiter, resembling a shellfish that groweth vpon the rocks about Garnsey and Garsey, called a Lympit: many of these shells i brought with me to London, whih after I had opened, I founde in them liuing things without forme or shape; in others which were neerer to come to ripenes, I found liuing things that were very naked, in shape like a Birde; in others, the Birds couered with soft downe, the shell halfe open, and the Birde readie to fall out, which no doubt were the foules called Barnakles. I dare not absolutely auouch uery circumstance of the first part of this Historie concerning the tree that beareth those buds aforesaide, but will leaue it to a further consideration: howbeit that which I have seene with mine eies, and handled with mind handes, I dare confidently auouch, and boldly put downe for veritie." (1392)