The PLANT Web site is a digital library of books on botany and medicinal plants (the so-called herbals) printed during the period 1481-1650. Most of these books are now preserved in the rare book room of specialized libraries all over the world and are not easily accessible. Furthermore, none of such libraries owns them all.

To complement for these inconveniences, the PLANT Web site -- whose name is the acronym of PLantarum Aetatis Novae Tabulae, that is, Renaissance Plant Illustrations -- offers a digital version of many such books, together with a whole set of supplementary information: a detailed biography of the authors and a brief one of the publishers, as well as short comments on the contents of the volumes allowing thereby for contextualization; the translation of the names of the places where the books were printed, which are often in Latin, for a better understanding of the geography of herbal production; and the scientific names of the plants, their ancient Greek and Latin names, and also all their medieval and Renaissance vernacular names, as well as their modern names in five major languages, which provide starting points for research.

Although the site does not contain all of the books produced during the period above, it aims to be as complete as possible and relies on a systematic census of the herbals printed during the time frame mentioned.

For each work under consideration, the site provides the first edition and a link to its subsequent editions and reprints, including the translations and commentaries when appropriate. For each work, it contains all of its pages reproduced in full with their reference (page or folio number) and the exact transcription of the caption for the plant(s) in the illustration(s).

Images can be enlarged and the many names of the plants in the illustrations (see above) can be displayed by clicking on About this plant. With such information, all the other representations of the same plant in the Web site are displayed in order corresponding to the publication date of the volumes in which they are contained.

It is possible to search the site by author, title, year or period of publication, or plant name, and these direct searches can be complemented by navigating within the site.


For more about Renaissance botanical illustration click here

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