Page:History of botany (Sachs; Garnsey).djvu/48

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[Book I.
Botanists of Germany and the Netherlands

downwards, spread very widely, and are continually putting forth new and young clusters like hops.'

Then follows a long paragraph on the names, that is, a critical review of the opinions of different writers on the question, which of Dioscorides' or Pliny's names should be applied to the plant described. 'I must think,' says Bock, 'that this flower is a wild sort, Scammonia Dioscoridis (but harmless), which herb Dioscorides also calls colophonia, dactylion, apopleumenon, sanilum, and colophonium,' and so on. Then follows a chapter on its virtue and effect externally and internally.

As regards the arrangement of the 567 species described by Bock, he divides his book into three parts, the first and second containing the smaller herbs, the third the shrubs and trees. In each part closely allied plants are generally described in larger or smaller numbers one immediately after another, though the compiler is all the time under the influence of very various considerations, and follows no general principle. For instance, our Convolvulus stands in the midst of a number of other very different plants, which either climb as the ivy, or twine with tendrils as Smilax; then follows Lysimachia Nummularia, which simply runs along the ground, then the hop, Solanum Dulcamara, Clematis, Bryonia, Lonicera, and different Cucurbitaceae; immediately after come the Burdocks, Teasels, and Thistles, and these are followed by some Umbelliferae. The whole work is conceived in a similar spirit; the feeling for relationship is clearly to be traced within very narrow circles, but it finds imperfect expression and is frequently disturbed by reference to biological habit; this appears especially in the beginning of the third part, which treats of shrubs generally, shrubs which form hedges, and trees, 'as they grow in our German land'; the first chapter is on the fungi which grow on trees, the second on some mosses, and these are followed immediately by the mistletoe. Then come the heather and some smaller shrubs,