Sunday, September 18, 2011

Herbarium Vivum, 16th Century

This 16th century fascinating herbarium is a compilation of wild flowers, plants, ferns, horsetails, crops, etc. It has two particularities that strongly impressed me first time I saw it. First, flowers and leaves are in their original condition, but those that were partially preserved, have been completed by hand painting –even their specific biotope!- A hard and very detailed work. Second thing that makes this manuscript a treasure… Well, we can see the first specimens of tomato and tobacco plants that were imported from America to Europe!

This herbarium was done by Jerome (Hieronymus) Harder (born in 1523 in Meersburg, Germany and buried on April 27th 1607 in Ulm). Jerome was a German botanist and Latin schoolmaster. Besides his teaching activities, Harder dealt with botany and collected plants for 12 herbariums -nowadays stored in Heidelberg, Munich, Rome (Vatican Library), Salzburg, Ulm, Vienna, Linz, Überlingen, Zurich and Lindau-. Link to wikipedia Hieronymus biography (poor) is here.

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