Images courtesy of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society
British Society for the History of Pharmacy

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Our events programme covers a wide range of pharmacy history topics.  We hold 3 evening meetings each year, and annual conference, a summer visit, and a joint meeting with a School of Pharmacy.  Click on an event below to find out more.
Online (Zoom)
Monday 24 April 202318:30 GMT
Cost: free of charge

The 16th century was a golden age for botany, also known as the botanical Renaissance. Plants were no longer regarded solely as sources of drugs, an interest in plants for their own sake emerged. For the first time in history, 16th-century botanists turned to nature to find the plants described by Dioscorides and other ancient authors. Gradually, the idea that the ancients had described all existing species was abandoned as more species were discovered in the field. New plants arriving as curiosities from the New World helped in this realization. 16th-century botanists collected and press-dried plants among paper sheets, mounted and bound into books, creating the first herbaria that survive to this day. Two fine examples showcasing this transition are the emblematic En Tibi and Rauwolf herbaria, kept at Naturalis Biodiversity Center in Leiden, the Netherlands. This lecture explores the origins and contents of these and other 16th-century plant collections witnessing the birth of botany from a practice of medicine to a distinct scientific discipline.

Dr Anastasia Stefanaki is a botanist working on botanical history and historic plant collections with a special interest in the 16th century. Her research focuses on the cultural history of useful plants and their introduction history in 16th-century Europe, for example the wild tulip, tomato, and aloe. She is also interested in the origins and botanical contents of historic herbaria, especially the iconic En Tibi and Rauwolf herbaria, two of the oldest surviving plant collections in the world. She is currently a postdoctoral researcher at Wageningen University and at Naturalis Biodiversity Center in the Netherlands.

The talk will delivered on Zoom and livestreamed on our YouTube channel.

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