Nehemiah Grew, collector, curator, and cataloguer of plants – Christoffer Basse Eriksen (University of Cambridge)

May 10, 2021 @ 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm
Joanne Green

In 1682, Nehemiah Grew published his majestic _Anatomy of Plants_, which is rightfully lauded for its systematic observations of the minute structures of plants, and its beautiful visual representations of their insides. The publication earned Grew recognition as the first anatomist of plants. In this talk, I want to highlight another aspect of Grew’s engagement with the vegetable world, namely how he sought out specific plants to study. In order to do so, I will present snapshot databases of the plant species that Grew observed in his printed works, as well as a reconstruction of his private plant collection. This plant collection was catalogued by Grew himself in an unpublished manuscript, and later by Hans Sloane, who bought the collection after Grew’s death and incorporated it into his own collection of ‘vegetable substances’. Throughout the talk, Grew emerges not as anatomist, but as collector, curator, and cataloguer of plants.

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