chapter  4
32 Pages

Plants from the New World

During the rst decades of the sixteenth century the fundamental texts on materia medica of the past had gone through a massive work of editing, translating and commenting. Dioscorides’ Materia medica, in particular, came to be considered the fundamental book on medical botany, and was also prescribed as the textbook for the lectura de simplicibus at the University of Pisa.3 Sixteenthcentury physician-naturalists had to front and to appropriate a double renewal in the eld of materia medica and res herbaria. As has been pointed out, both the re-discovery of the old world, and the discovery of the New World were regarded by the scholars of the time as an encounter with new realities and novel experiences.4