"Rumphius' Orchids" by Georgius Everhardus Rumphius

Rumphius' Orchids Orchid Texts from the "Ambonese Herbal" Georgius Everhardus Rumphius, E.M. Beekman, E.M. Beekman

Format:
Hardback
Publication date:
24 Oct 2003
ISBN:
9780300098143
Dimensions:
192 pages: 218 x 141 x 21mm
Illustrations:
21 black-&-white illustrations, 16 colour plates, bibliographical references

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A translation of Georgius Everhardus Rumphius's 17th-century study of tropical orchids. Rumphius (1627-1702), founder of Indonesian botanical exploration and one of the greatest naturalists of the 17th century, was the first to describe tropical orchids in a Western language. Within the pages of his monumental seven-volume "Ambonese Herbal", written in Dutch, he included descriptions of 36 species of orchids found on the island of Ambon in eastern Indonesia, plus 12 uncertified ones. His detailed descriptions reflect both the accuracy of a scientist and the sensibility of a poet. This volume gathers and translates into English all the sections of "The Ambonese Herbal" that are devoted to orchids. For each entry, Rumphius describes the plant, names it according to a pre-Linnaean system of nomenclature, gives its locality, and details its medicinal and non-medicinal uses. More than 20 line drawings accompany the entries. The volume includes notes to illuminate the text and an informative introduction that tells the life of Rumphius, a remarkable collector-naturalist who overcame fire, shipwreck and blindness to produce his masterwork.

E. M. Beekman is professor of Germanic languages at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

"Books like this are not written any more because people with Rumphius' knowledge and writing skills do not exist any more. He paints a picture of the world he lived in, a picture no one else has provided and of great historical and ethnobotanical interest." Henk van der Werff, Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, Missouri "A book filled with interesting titbits of information that hold the reader's attention. Enlightening and original." Wesley E. Higgins, Director of Systematics, Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, Sarasota, Florida