Synopses & Reviews
Rumphius (1627-1702), founder of Indonesian botanical exploration and one of the greatest naturalists of the seventeenth century, was the first to describe tropical orchids in a Western language. Within the pages of his monumental seven-volume Ambonese Herbal, written in Dutch, he included descriptions of thirty-six species of orchids found on the island of Ambon in eastern Indonesia, plus twelve uncertified ones. His detailed descriptions reflect both the accuracy of a scientist and the sensibility of a poet. This lovely book is the first to gather and translate into English all the sections of Rumphius' The Ambonese Herbal devoted to orchids. For each entry, Rumphius describes the plant, names it according to a pre-Linnaean system of nomenclature, gives its locality, and details its medicinal and non-medicinal uses. More than twenty beautiful line drawings accompany the entries. The volume includes ample notes to illuminate the text and an informative introduction that tells the life of Rumphius--a remarkable collector/naturalist who overcame fire, shipwreck, and blindness to produce his masterwork.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 99-164) and index.