VERSION 9 THE CUCURBITS AND NIGHTSHADES OF RENAISSANCE

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tradition is based on quotations found in Shakespeare s plays This paper in part of our ongoing. investigations on the crop history of the Cucurbitaceae and Solanaceae. JOHN GERARD, The 1597 herbal of John Gerard 1545 1612 is the best known botanical work published in. Renaissance England Rohde 1922 Woodword 1928 Arber 1938 Henrey 1975 It has. remained popular for over 400 years for its horticultural lore its collection of medical plant. virtues and not least its graceful and delightful English prose. Gerard was born in Cheshire England and attended a village school in Wisterson He was. apprenticed for a career of a surgeon in 1562 and achieved eminence in his profession being. elected Master of the Company of Barber surgeons He traveled the Baltic coast to Denmark. Sweden Poland and Russia Gerard s reputation however rests on horticulture As early as. 1577 Gerard superintended several gardens and plant collection of William Cecil Lord. Burghley the first minister of Queen Elizabeth I including his residence in the Strand and at. Theobalds Herfordshire In 1586 Gerard was appointed curator of the college of Physicians. physics garden His own garden at Holborn between Chancery Lane and Fetter Lane included. all rare sample and all manners of strange trees herbs roots plants flowers and other rare. Gerard s list of plants Catologus arborum in his Holborn garden published in 1596 and. amended in 1599 was the first garden catalogue printed in English and included over a thousand. entries including the first published mention of potato d2 However Gerard s most famous. work is his Herball or General Historie of Plants published in 1597 and dedicated to Lord. Burghley The opening sentence of his preface is an example of his style Although my paines. have not been spent Curteous Reader in the gracious discoverie of golden Mines not in the. tracing after silver veines wherby my native country might be enriched with such merchandise. as it hath most in request and admiration yet hath my labour I trust been otherwise profitably. employed in descrying of such a harmlesse treasure of herbes trees and plants as the earth. frankely without violence ofereth unto our most necessarie uses. The origin of the Herball has a circuitous history The publisher John Norton had. commissioned a certain Dr Robert Priest a London physician to translate Stirpium historiae. pemptades sex 1583 of the Flemish botanist Rembert Dodoens 1517 1585 from Latin into. English but who died before completing the task The fate of Priest s translation is obscure. Gerard stated in his preface that he never saw it but in a commendatory letter printed in the. Herball Stephen Bredwell acknowledged Priest as follows D Priest for his translation of so. much as Dodonaeus that thereby left a tombe for his honorable sepulture This sentence. contradicted Gerard s account doctor Priest one of our London Colleagues hath as I heard. translated the last edition of Dodonaeus which meant to publishe the same but being prevented. by death his translation likewise perished This contradictory statement plus the bald face. fib as I have heard has sullied Gerard s reputation. Gerard s 1597 Herball turned out to be an amalgam of the English translation of Dodoens. Pemptades reconfigured in the arrangement of Mathias de L Obel supplemented by Gerard s. own personal observations from his gardens his considerable scholarship and his. correspondence with contemporary herbalists and plant collectors In addition the Herball. contained about 1800 woodcuts most of them from the collection of the publisher Nicolaus. Bass of Frankfurt and published several years earlier under the authorship of Jakob Theodor of. Bergzabern Tabernaemontanus 1520 1590 as illustrations without text and the Kraueterbuch. vol 1 of 1588 and vol 2 of 1591 and some derived from earlier herbals However Gerard had. difficulties reconciling the figures with the text and Mathias de l Obel Latinized as Lobelius. 1539 1616 was brought in by the printer to assist in this project Difficulties ensued and. l Obel was dismissed by Gerard on the ground that he has forgotten his English The first. edition of the herbal despite its many errors proved to be a substantial and important work of. great interest to contemporary botanists and physicians Although the medicinal properties of the. plants were considered the focus was on food and ornamental values supplemented with. commentary devoted to garden culture Gerard above all wrote with felicity and style and the. charm of his prose has done much to make this herbal a beloved work of English letters Despite. its many errors it proved to be a unique work of great interest to contemporary botanists. apothecaries and physicians and was without competition in England for 36 years When it was. learned that a new English herbal by John Parkinson was in the offing a second edition was. commissioned and undertaken with the well known London apothecary Thomas Johnson John. Norton died in 1633 but the rights passed to others and the edition was published by a. consortium of Adam Isslip Joice Norton likely John Norton s widow and Richard Whtiaker. The Johnson edition published in 1636 in London under the same title has corrections and. emendations indicated by special markings The illustrations of the original version were. replaced with those obtained from the publisher Christophe Plantin of Antwerp 1513 1588 and. augmented to 2766 Many new plants were described including the banana This edition. remained popular extended to the 19th A Dover facsimile was reproduced in 1975 In this paper. we will consider only the content of Gerard s original 1597 work. Cucurbit Chapters, Cucurbits of six genera of Old World cucurbits Bryonia Citrullus Cucumis Ecballium. Lagenaria and Momordica and one New Worlds genus Cucurbita are discussed in the. Herball Table 1 In keeping with the Pemptades most of them are groups of contiguous. chapters 65 306 307 and 327 333, Balsam apple appears in Chapter 65 entitled Of Balme apple or apple of Hierusalem a. translation of the text in the Pemptades of what Dodoens called Charantia with a few. interjections by Gerard Gerard associated this plant with other cucurbits commenting that the. balsam apple must be planted in April even as muske Melons and Cucumbers and such like cold. fruits are and he noted that in the apple lieth great broade flat seede like those of Pompion or. Citrull The corresponding images show two plants a fruitful one called the male balsam apple. Fig 2A and the other the female balsam apple bearing only a few fruits The former is. Momordica balsamina the latter is not a cucurbit The terms male and female do not. indicate plant sexuality but is derived from medieval thinking in reference to plant vigor. Bryony also appears in separately as Chapter 306 Of Brionie or the white Vine in the. Herball Gerard s description is merely a translation of that of Dodoens until his personal. observation that The Queens chiefe Chirurgion Master William Goodorous a very curious and. learned gentleman shewed me a roote heereof that waied halfe an hundred weight and of the. bignesse of a childe of a yeere olde Gerard indicated that the white bryony was ubiquitous. that it groweth almost every where among pot herbes hedge bushes and such like places The. description and illustration Fig 2B indicate Bryonia alba The ensuing subjects Chapter 307. Of blacke Bryonie or the wilde vine and Chapter 308 Of Bryonie of Mexico are not. cucurbits Gerard indicated that the latter is not really bryony as its roots are insipid whilst the. roots of true bryony are bitter, The contiguous cucurbit chapters in Gerard s herbal begin with Chapter 326 Of. Cucumbers Gerard explaining There be divers sorts of Cucumbers some greater others. lesser some of the Garden some wilde some of one fashion and some of another as shall be. declared in this chapter Indeed this short introduction in quaint English prose is original and. moreover captures exactly Dodoens succinct Latin De Vulgo Dictis Cucumeribus What is. Commonly Called Cucumber Gerard described five such cucumbers. The description of the first cucumber a direct translation from Dodoens Pemptades is of. a branched trailing plant having rough stems and leaves bearing tendrils and small yellow. flowers The fruit is long cornered rough and set with certain bumpes or risings greene at the. first and yellow when they be ripe wherein is contained a firme and solide pulpe or substance. transparent or thorow shining which togither with the seede is eaten a little before they be fully. ripe The seeds be white long and flat The image labeled Cucumis vulgaris Common. Cucumber Fig 2C is entirely consistent with the description and shows Cucumis sativus. American Pickling Group Paris and Maynard 2008, The description of the second The Turkie Cucumber is also of a branched trailing.
tendril bearing yellow flowered plant with leaves that are very broad deepely cut about the. edges not unlike to those of the Pompion on which after which commeth the fruit crested. chambered or furrowed like the Pompion The meate or pulpe is more firme and solide than that. of the common Cucumber The seede is long very white in shape like those of the common. Cucumber but greater This passage is not derived from the Pemptades and apparently is. Gerard s own observation While epithet Turkie was used by herbalists to indicate an exotic. origin the description is undoubtedly of a cultigen of Cucurbita pepo which is a North. American species The illustration Fig 2D labeled Cucumis Turcicus Turkie Cucumber is. entirely consistent with the description Specifically the description is of C pepo subsp pepo. Pumpkin Group Paris 1986 2001, The description of the third this kinde certaine long Cucumbers is a translation from the. Pemptades but in beautiful prose The seede of this kinde of Cucumbers being sowen bringeth. foorth not such as were before but such as art hath framed which of their owne growth are. found long and oftentimes very crookedly turned and thereupon they have beene called. Anguini or long Cucumbers and crooked Cucumbers The accompanying illustration labeled. Cucumis Anguina Adders Cucumber Fig 2E depicts a trailing tendril bearing plant with. bluntly cordate leaf laminae bearing very long curved striate fruits undoubtedly Cucumis melo. subsp melo Flexuosus Group Burger et al 2010 These snake melons are often mistakenly. referred to as cucumbers even to the present day, The fourth The Peare fashioned Cucumber is not in the Pemptades It too is described as. branched tendril bearing trailing plant that is rough and prickly with sharp pointed leaves. starlike yellow flowers and pear shaped fruits The illustration Fig 2F labeled Cucumis. Pyriformis Peare fashion Cucumber matches the description and even shows warts on the fruits. allowing positive identification as a cultigen of Cucumis sativus L having pyriform fruits. The fifth and final item in this chapter is also described as a branched rough trailing plant. sharp pointed leaves and yellow flowers The fruit is described as being of a foot in length. green on the side toward the ground yellowe to the sun warde straked with manie spots and. lines of divers colours The pulpe or meate is hard and fast like that of our Pompion This item. was not described in the Pemptades It is accompanied by an illustration Cucumis ex Hispanico. semine natus Spanish Cucumber The illustration Fig 2 G shows a small section of the plant. a stem with two entire leaves two flowers and one fruit which is twice the length of the leaf. laminae and shows many warts and small cracks Clearly this is an illustration of a mature. cucumber Cucumis sativus quite large and similar to those grown today in Italy the United. States and elsewhere that are used in salads The description of the multi colored exterior and. hardness of the flesh like that of our Pompion suggests however Cucurbita pepo. The next subject presented as Chapter 327 is Of Wilde Cucumber This too is described. as a rough branching plant with sharp pointed but grayish leaves The flowers were described. as small and light yellow the small fruits verie rough and hairie on the outside and of the. colour and substance of the stalkes wherein is contained verie much water and small hard. blackish seeds also which being come to maturitie or ripenes it castesth or squirteth foorth his. water with the seeds either of it owne accord or being touched with the most tender or delicate. hande never so gently and oftentimes striketh so harde against those that touch it especially if it. chaunce to hit against the face that the place smarteth long after The root was described as. thick and white and the entire plant very bitter The illustration Fig 2H labeled Cucumis. asininus Wilde Cucumber matches the description and is Ecballium elaterium In the. Pemptades this taxon does not appear in a chapter contiguous with the cultivated cucurbits. Apparently Gerard was personally acquainted with this plant even though he mistakenly. described its seeds as blackish as his description is not a direct translation from the Pemptades. and moreover he lists and describes various medical uses and preparations made from The. juice called Elaterium, Chapter 328 Of Citrull Cucumbers Gerard describes two kinds The first is described at. length the text mostly a translation from the Pemptades but with some additions by Gerard The. plant is branched tender trailing bearing tendrils and yellow flowers The fruit is described as. playwright William Shakespeare 1564 1616 were contemporaries in London Their references to cucurbits The 1597 herbal of John Gerard 1545 1612 is the best known botanical work published in Renaissance England Rohde 1922 Woodword 1928 Arber 1938 Henrey 1975 It has remained popular for over 400 years for its horticultural lore its collection of medical plant virtues and

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