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16th-century herbarium research

In March 2018 with the support of the Van de Sande Foundation Dr. Abdolbaset Ghorbani Dahaneh (Uppsala University) will research the sixteenth-century Rauwolff Herbarium and its botanical sources in Leiden University Libraries. On Wednesday, March 14, during the Clusius Symposium Ghorbani will give a lecture on 'The Syrian Rauwolff Herbarium (1574)'.

A page from the Rauwolff Herbarium (1573-1575)

Leonhard Rauwolff and his Herbarium

The German botanist and physician Leonhard Rauwolff traveled through the Middle East in the seventies of the sixteenth century in order to collect plants that could be used to make medicines. With every dried plant the he brought with him, he recorded exactly where it was picked or collected. Sometimes he wrote something more in these entries, for example about the chickpeas he had received in Palestine. In essence he turned his herbarium into a botanical log.

The herbarium of Rauwolff is one of the oldes examples of a historical plant collection. The herbarium will be researched and opened up in the coming years by Tinde van Andel, professor by special appointment in the history of botany and gardens at Leiden University and the Van de Sande Fellow Abdolbaset Ghorbani Dahaneh.

The Iranian ethnobotanist Abdolbaset Ghorbani, from Uppsala Unversity, conducts research at Leiden University Libraries on the use of the plants and the information about these plants in the rich collection of written and printed sources. Ghorbani translates and emendates the often misspelled Arab and Turkish names of plants, as well as the accompanying German texts

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