The Ambonese Herbal v. 1 Georgius Everhardus Rumphius, E.M. Beekman

Publication date:
23 Sep 2011
548 pages: 276 x 191 x 41mm

Over the course of five decades, the seventeenth-century naturalist Georgius Everhardus Rumphius assiduously gathered information on the native plants of Ambon Island and its archipelago. By presenting descriptions of the plants and their multiple uses, he succeeded in creating a cultural and scientific treasury of incomparable value not only for his contemporaries but also for today's botanists, anthropologists, ethnobotanists, science historians, medicinal chemists, and other scholars. Rumphius' comprehensive reference, complete with 811 original illustrations, describes in remarkable detail more than 2,000 plants, their habitats, and their economic and medicinal uses. He also records native plant names in Malay, Latin, Dutch, and Ambonese - and often in Macassarese and South Chinese as well. In an illuminating introduction, E.M. Beekman discusses the Herbal's significance for tropical botanical literature, examines Rumphius' influence on Linnaeus' work, and surveys the Indonesian economic and medicinal uses of the plants Rumphius described. Beekman also provides invaluable annotations throughout the Herbal.

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Winner of the 2012 Council on Botanical and Horticultural Libraries annual Literature Award in the 'Technical' category

Georgius Everhardus Rumphius (1627-1702), a soldier and naturalist, arrived on the island of Ambon in Indonesia in 1653 and until his death devoted himself to the task of documenting the tropical environment he encountered there. The late E. M. Beekman, a highly acclaimed authority on colonial and Dutch language and literature, was Professor Emeritus, University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He was also an accomplished poet and novelist and the author of two dozen books.

"Beekman's introduction, which deftly combines historic, geographic, scientific, and humanistic material, is a first-rate piece of work, brilliantly written and a joy to read. . . . a magnificent achievement."--Craig Smith, "The Santa Fe New Mexican"--Craig Smith "The Santa Fe New Mexican "