Verbascum thapsus, Theophrastus and Historia plantarum




This summer a big mullein has appeared in our garden , I don’t know where has it come from, nor where would it go to next year, but I am grateful for its beauty bringing joy in our days. Apparently it has been a big traveler for a long time, meeting Carolus Linnaeaus to get its name in 1753. Thapsus part of its name was introduced even before, by Theophrastus. Each time we admire yellow mullein flowers we should praise Theophrastus, head of Peripatetic school for almost forty years that  wrote Historia plantarum- Enquiry into Plants to influence renaissance science profoundly. There he introduced classification of plants based on their reproduction ( anno 350 BC !! ) and was since then considered father of the botany. And as mullein has many flowers, so Theophrastus had many talents and interests. Regarding happiness I feel admiring my visiting mullein shall I cite:

In ethics, he regarded happiness as depending on external influences as well as on virtue and famously said that “life is ruled by fortune, not wisdom.” from:

Anything else to say as: enjoy the summer beauty of mullein as long it lasts !

Theophrastus, depicted as a medieval scholar in theNuremberg Chronicle 

Frontispiece to the illustrated 1644 edition of theEnquiry into Plants (Historia Plantarum) both pictures from:

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5 Replies to “Verbascum thapsus, Theophrastus and Historia plantarum”

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