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Paderborn, Germany

The use of dichotomous tables to identify a plant and to visualize inter-relationships and differences between plants was commonly credited to the first edition of Flore françoise by Jean-Baptiste Lamarck published in 1778. However, evidence for an origin of this technique in the seventeenth and sixteenth century also exists. The present paper scrutinizes the extra-botanical origin of dichotomous tables and suggests the first half of the sixteenth century as the time when they were introduced into botanical writings. Bracketed outlines, the common format of such dichotomous tables, evolved from a typographical artifice into a heuristic instrument for reasoning methodologically about plant characteristics ("differentiae") and finally into a means of describing and ordering the plants themselves in a new manner. © The Society for the History of Natural History. Source


A consistent and reliable method of citing published works was an integral part of Linnaeus's great project on classification and nomenclature which began with the publication of Systema naturae in 1735. Unfortunately, this applies only to a limited extent for his Musa cliffortiana of 1736, a monograph about the banana, abounding in historical details, but which suffers from a series of cryptic or faulty references. In this paper, corrections of some of these erroneous citations are suggested. © The Society for the History of Natural History. Source


Funk H.,Kapellenstrasse 3a
Archives of Natural History | Year: 2013

Personal names (eponyms) of real or fictitious people can be found both in botanical and zoological nomenclature ever since Linnaeus's reform efforts (and earlier too)-yet they were never uncontroversial. The same applies for scientific chemical nomenclature where the situation is more complex because besides systematic names, semi-systematic, and even non-scientific (trivial) names such as Glauber's salt or ammonia (both derived from eponyms), are officially accepted. One of the semisystematic names is kaempferol, the designation of a natural dyestuff (flavonoid) that occurs in numerous plants, among them Kaempferia galanga. The course of the discovery and name-giving process for this organic compound is traced, elucidating that not only Engelbert Kaempfer was involved, but a whole series of natural scientists. © The Society for the History of Natural History. Source


Funk H.,Kapellenstrasse 3a
Archives of Natural History | Year: 2015

Unpublished manuscripts sent from Japan by the German physician and naturalist Philipp Franz von Siebold (1796-1866) to the Dutch zoologist Coenraad Jacob Temminck (1778-1858) show that Siebold possessed exclusive information about the now extinct Japanese wolf. This was confounded or ignored by Temminck when he used Siebold as source for his section on Japanese dogs and wolves in the volume on mammals in Fauna japonica with Siebold as general editor (1842). Temminck had used Siebold's information for his naming of the Japanese wolf as Canis hodophilax in 1839. Temminck's descriptions are analysed in comparison with Siebold's manuscripts to clarify how Temminck obscured Siebold's information. This paper includes reproductions of two unpublished drawings from Siebold's draftsman in Japan and a brief discussion of the zoological status of the Japanese wolf. Additionally, a translation of the most important of Siebold's manuscripts is appended. © The Society for the History of Natural History. Source


Funk H.,Kapellenstrasse 3a
Archives of Natural History | Year: 2015

The first original illustrated herbal in the post-incunabula period after 1501 was Knieha lekarska by the Bohemian physician Jan Černý (c.1456-1530), written in Czech but printed in Nuremberg, Germany, in 1517. This work is missing in nearly all histories of illustrated herbals and, if mentioned, it is never systematically evaluated. The present paper introduces the author and analyses his work with respect to the tradition of early herbals, questioning the opinion that no remarkable herbal was produced in the first two decades of the sixteenth century. © The Society for the History of Natural History. Source

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