UMass Amherst
Otto Brunfels

Herbarum vivae eicones : ad nature imitationem, suma cum diligentia et artificio effigiate, una cum effectibus earundem, in gratiam ueteris illius & iamiam renascentis herbariaemedicinae.
Argentorati [Strasbourg] : Apud Ioannem Schottu, 1530-1532.
2 v. : ill. ; 34 cm.

Call no.: QK41.B8 v. 1+.

A physician and naturalist, a Carthusian monk turned Lutheran clergyman, Otto Brunfels (1488-1534) is often credited with publishing the first original description of a regional flora. Based on years of collecting plants in the vicinity of his native Bern, Switzerland, Brunfels arranged his work according to the medicinal value of the plant, rather than organizing it lphabetically or in accordance with any systematic arrangement. The edition is particularly known for the unusually elegant woodcuts of Hans Weiditz, which are some of the finest botanical illustrations of the sixteen century. Unlike many other contemporary (or subsequent) herbals in which illustrations were cribbed from earlier works, the publisher Johann Schott insisted that Weiditz make original sketches from actual specimens, resulting in engravings that have a more life-like appearance than is typical for the time.

Brunfels' Herbarum vivae eicones makes repeated reference to classical authors such as Theophrastus, however he failed to recognize that many of his taxa were biogeographic variants of those recognized by the ancient Greeks, and not identical forms. The genus Brunfelsia is named in his honor.

title page Engraved title page

Narcissus Illustration of Narcissus