Page:History of botany (Sachs; Garnsey).djvu/46

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26
[Book I.
Botanists of Germany and the Netherlands

and characters. Together with these smaller groups, many more comprehensive ones, which we now designate families, were also marked off and supplied with names, which are still in use. The 16th century established the groups and names of Coniferae, Umbelliferae, Verticillatae (Labiatae), Capillares (Ferns), and others. It is true that the determination of the limits of these groups by distinct marks was not yet attempted, but the plants belonging to these groups were again and again treated of in special chapters or ranged in due succession one after another. But as long as this was done to some extent without design, and the real meaning of this relationship was not yet recognised, other considerations of very various kinds influenced the composition of the books and disturbed the natural arrangement. The feeling for natural affinity supplants all other considerations in de l'Obel first, and after him much more completely in Kaspar Bauhin.

Enough perhaps has now been said to render the main result of the botanical efforts of the period, which we are considering, intelligible to the reader; but a clear view of the method of describing plants at that time, and of the way in which systematic botany came into being, can only be shown by examples; and if we proceed to give some here, it is with the purpose with which figures copied as exactly as possible from nature are added to treatises on natural history, because a real understanding is only to be gained in this way. The botanical literature of the 16th century is so different from that of the 19th, that a very indistinct idea of it could be obtained from a statement of results expressed in modern terms.


Fuchs, Historia Stirpium, 1542.


The common plant now known as Convolvulus arvensis is there called Helxine cissampelos, and is described in the following manner:

'Nomina.—'Ελξινᾑ κισσάμπελος Graecis, Helxine cissampelus et Convolvulus Latinis nominatur. Vulgus herbariorum et