| There have been
many examples on classifying of the plants through time, and there will
probably come more. The first known is from China around 3600 B. C. The
first known European is from around 300 B. C., and taxonomists
are right now working on the latest edition of
have fascinated me for many years, but I have found it frustrating, classes
came and disappeared, the ending on orders changes, families change names,
and it seems like every source had it's system. While digging down deeper in
the history of taxonomy, I realized there were many parallel systems, and
most borrowed form earlier systems. Some came up with radical changes, other
just changes a few orders in an existing system. What puzzles me is; not a
single plant stands without author, but no one seems to be willing to write
which system they are using.
I have not been able to find the full taxon on the early systems, but
most systems from 1900 and till today is present in details, down to families.
The information on this page is gathered from around 90 sources, no list.
In the beginning, there were not really systems, but just lists of medical plants.
In some cases divided into; tree, shrub and herb.
Never the less, I have included the first authors.
|| Emperor Shen
(Chi'en) Nung (2696 B.C.) collected information on medical herbs. His
knowledge was written down in Shen Nung Pen Ts'ao Ching in
around 650 BC, and contained 365 plants.
He is known as the "Father of Agriculture and Medicine" in China.
Smith's papyrus from Egypt was written in hieratic around the
17th century BC, but thought to be based on material from as early as 3000
BC. It is basically a medical document with trauma surgery for
battlefield injuries, but deals with medical herbs as well. It was found in
1862 in Luxor, and was translated by James Breasted in 1930.
medical papyrus from Egypt is a systematic arrangement of medicinal
plants. It make a simple classification based on habit of the plants. It
was purchased at Luxor (Thebes) in the winter of 1873Ė74 by Georg Ebers and
is now in the library of the University of Leipzig, Germany. It was
translated in 1890, by H. Joachim.
Sorted by habitat.
|| One of the first known
European writings about plants is
by Theophrastus (Θεόφραστος) (372-287 B.C).
He made the first classifications, based on the plant's similarities and
differences in Historia plantarum and Causae plantarum. Is is an encyclopaedia of what later became known
as the plant kingdom, in which a draft taxonomy is sketched, together with a
basic classification of plant "elements". Differences between organs
(external) and tissues (internal), and further more, he made recording of
different types of tissues. It was translated to Latin by Theodore Gaza, at Treviso, 1483. Theophrastus' main groups were Tree, shrub, undershrub
then divided by annual, biennial and perennial
indeterminate and determinate inflorescences, ovary position, polypetalous
and gamopetalous corollas.
His publication contained 500 plants.
Theophrastus was born on the Greek
island Lesbos. He was a student of Plato and Aristotle. He presided over the
Peripatetic school for 35 years, and dealt with many scientific
Some of his names live today:
Daucus, Asparagus, and Narcissus.
Divides plants in: Tree,
shrub, under-shrub or herb. Flowering, non flowering.
Dioscorides (Pedianos Dioskourides) (c.40 - c.90 A.C.) wrote De
Materia Medica (Peri
which was one of the basic source of information about plants for 1500
years. It included around 5-600 plants, and dealt general with their
medical use, but also record something of their botany and living morphology
including roots, foliage, and sometimes flowers. It was sorted: "I
shall endeavor to use a different arrangement [than alphabetic] and describe
the classes according to the properties of the individual drugs." His scheme
was to organize by category or class and then by the physiological effect of
the drug on the body. The classification of drugs with similar
pharmaceutical properties was too subtle, however, and not comprehended.
Pedanius Dioscorides was born in
Anazarbus, Greece (Nazarba, Turkey) - part of the Roman Empire. He had
access to the library at Alexandria, and may have studied at Tarsus. He
became a leading physician, pharmacologist and botanist, and his work on
medical plants was a keystone to a medical carrier for 1Ĺ millennium.
The genus Dioscorea is named in
Sort by "properties of
the individual drugs".
|| Tao Hung
Ching (452-536) wrote Ben Cao Jing Ji Zhu (Collection of
Commentaries on the Divine Husbandman's Classic of Materia Medica) which
were based on Shen Nung Pen Ts'ao Ching, but now contained 730 plants,
Sort by medical effect.
Hanžfar √hmad ibn Dawýd Džnawarž (828-896) is considered the father of
Arabic botanic. Some of his work have been lost, but it seems to deal with
around 1000 plants or more. It is based on now lost written and oral
information. Beside from an alphabetic list, here are information on
medical, agriculture and other useful plants along with mushrooms. How to
grow or gather them, the soil and description on the phases of its growth.
√bu Hanžfar √hmad ibn Dawýd
Džnawarž / Al-Dinawri was born in Džnawar (modern days western Iran). He
studied astronomy, mathematics and mechanics in Isfahan and poetry and
philology in in Kufa and Basra. Beside from that, he had an interest in
agriculture, botany and metallurgy.
His work; Kitab Al-Nabat;
Book of Plants is his main contribution.
Alphabetic sorted. Growing tips.
|| Albertus Magnus (Albert)
(~1200-1280) ( Saint Albert the Great, Albert of Cologne) produced a
classification system that recognized monocots and dicots, although he do
not use those terms.
Albertus Magnus was born in
Lauingen an der Donau, Germany. He became a Dominican friar who achieved
fame for his comprehensive knowledge and advocacy for the peaceful
coexistence of science and religion. He applied the Aristotle's philosophy
to Christian thoughts. In 1260, he became Bishop of Regensburg,
He was made a Saint in 1931
and, in 1941, made patron of natural scientists.
Enriched Christianity with Aristotelian
knowledge. The first idea of a monocot and dicot division.
Otto Brunfels (1488-1534)
published his Herbarum vivae icones,1530 and 1536 and Contrafayt
Kršuterbuch, 1532-1537. They contain new and good descriptions of the German plants
he found during his botanical studies, under their German vernacular
Otto Brunfels (also known as
Brunsfels or Braunfels) was born in Bern, Switzerland. He studied theology
and philosophy in Mainz, and became a minister at Steinau an der StraŖe in
1521 and later, in Neuenburg am Rhein. His main interest were the history of
evangelical Church, but he also published books on pedagogic, Arabic
language and pharmaceutics. Due to the interest in healing plants, he took
botany up. He study medicine at the University of Basel, got his M.D. in 1530, and became the City physician in Bern two years later. The
special about his publications on botany is; he describes the plants he see,
instead of using previous descriptions.
groups: No groups
Bock or Tragus (1498-1554) published the first edition of his Kreuterbuch
in 1539 unillustrated. In 1546, it was illustrated by the artist David Kandel. In those books, he
arranging plants by their relation or resemblance. He made a system to
classify 700 plants by characteristics, and medical uses.
JťrŰme Tragus, was a German
botanist, physician, and Lutheran priest who began the transition from
medieval botany to the modern scientific worldview by arranging plants by
their relation or resemblance.
He have to plants named after: The grass
genus Tragus and spurge genus Tragia.
| Made a
system of plants.
Leonhart Fuchs (1501-1566), who
is known for his De historia stirpium commentarii insignes
"New KreŁterbuch". Here, Fuchs tried to identify the plants described by
the classical authors. The book contains the description of about 400 German
and more than 100 domesticated plant species, but there are no system. It
was the way
he described the plants, that made him one "of the fathers".
Leonhart Fuchs was a
German physician, born in Wemding in the Duchy of Bavaria. After marine
he became Magister Artium in Ingolstadt, and received his M. D. in 1524.
The plant Fuchsia is named after
groups: No groups