‘Where have all the flowers grown’: the relationship between a plant and its place in sixteenth-century botanical treatises

Abstract

The article investigates Renaissance naturalists’ views on the links between plants and places where they grow. It looks at the Renaissance culture of botanical excursions and observation of plants in their natural environment and analyses the methods Renaissance naturalists used to describe relations between plants and their habitat, the influence of location on plants’ substantial and accidental characteristics, and in defining species. I worked mostly with printed sixteenth-century botanical sources and paid special attention to the work of Italian naturalist Giambattista Della Porta (1535–1615), whose thoughts on the relationship between plants and places are original, yet little known.

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