Orchids illustrations – 16 century – part 1

Out: Hieronymus Bock (Tragus) (1498-1554): „(New) Kreueter book. In it Unterscheydt, Würckung and names of the Kreueter, grow like this in German lands. ”Strasbourg 1546.

In this work we have one of the most famous and popular herbal books of the 16. A hundred years ahead of us. Here the orchids are given a much wider space than in the “Hortus sanitatis” of 1491.

So be here already 10 Different sexes of orchids, described and usually also represented graphically. Three of these descriptions are given on our illustration page. The “first gender” is probably the stately orchid (Orchis mascula), which can also occur whitely, in the case of the “third sex”, it may be about burnt orchid (Orchis ustulata).

Remarkably, that the nature-loving pastor Hieronymus Bock from Hornbach in his descriptions are surprisingly good in his own morphological, phenological and site-specific observations were incorporated. The living language and the clear comparisons, with which he rooted his representations, can still captivate the reader today. In the case of the “first sex”, he emphasizes the similarity of the flowers with those of the lark's spur and compares the tubers with nuts or olives. The leaves of this orchid are like the leaves of the white lilies and are speckled like the trout in the brooks.

In terms of pedagogy, it ties in with the familiar, to clearly show the unknown. His observations on the renewal of the tubers are so excellent, that they could almost be included in a modern textbook.

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