Over the course of five decades, the seventeenth-century naturalist Georgius Everhardus Rumphius assiduously gathered information on the native plants of Ambon Island and its archipelago. By presenting descriptions of the plants and their multiple uses, he succeeded in creating a cultural and scientific treasury of incomparable value not only for his contemporaries but also for today's botanists, anthropologists, ethnobotanists, science historians, medicinal chemists, and other scholars. Rumphius' comprehensive reference, complete with 811 original illustrations, describes in remarkable detail more than 2,000 plants, their habitats, and their economic and medicinal uses. He also records native plant names in Malay, Latin, Dutch, and Ambonese--and often in Macassarese and South Chinese as well.
In an illuminating introduction, E. M. Beekman discusses the "Herbal"'s" "significance" "for tropical botanical literature, examines Rumphius' influence on Linnaeus' work, and surveys the Indonesian economic and medicinal uses of the plants Rumphius described. Beekman also provides invaluable annotations throughout the "Herbal."
" The most esoteric of this season's books are the hefty, alluring volumes (eventually six in all) of a 17th-century naturalist's extraordinary masterwork, THE AMBONESE HERBAL (Yale University Press, $85 per volume) . . . a botanical treasure trove of Indonesian plants. Reading it, one enters a mysterious world all its own."-Dominique Browning, The New York Times -- Dominique Browning * The New York Times *
"The Ambonese Herbal," with its lovely plates and dense descriptions, is for the serious collector's library. Nonetheless, it's full of fascinating social and medicinal lore, a legacy of a vanished time."-Dominique Browning, The New York Times -- Dominique Browning * The New York Times *
Winner of the 2012 Council on Botanical and Horticultural Libraries annual Literature Award in the technical category -- Literature Award in the technical category * Council on Botanical and Horticultural Libraries *