The lasting impact of Caspar Bauhin's (1560-1624) enormous herbarium: 40 years of assembly and 400 years of dissemination
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Proposed Symposium Title: The lasting impact of Caspar Bauhin's (1560-1624) enormous herbarium: 40 years of assembly and 400 years of dissemination
Jurriaan M. de Vos1
Affiliations: Herbaria Basel, Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland
Caspar Bauhin (1560-1624) is one of the most influential botanists of all time. His publication Pinax Theatrum Botanicum (1623) represents approximately the first complete compendium of all ca. 6000 known plants, 130 years before Linnaeus' famous Species Plantarum (1753). By listing extensive synonymy, a somewhat "natural" classification, and a greatly improved naming system that included genus and species as explicit ranks, Bauhin shaped botany as a scientific discipline for centuries to come.
Bauhin based his plant catalogue and descriptions on his herbarium, that by his own account contained ca. 4000 species. Of these, some 2700 survive. In this talk I sumarize the process of its assembly over 40 years, including through exchange with at least 70 contemporaries evidenced from Bauhin's Phytopinax (1596), Pinax (1623), letters, and herbarium labels. The following 400 years, the herbarium influenced directly and indirectly other key figures in the history of botany, including Albrecht von Haller, Carolus Linnaeus, and Augustin Pyramus de Candolle. I emphasize how the "biography" of the herbarium tracks changing concepts in herbarium based research from the late renaissance to current research, the latter exemplified by ongoing projects regarding comparative genomics of tomato domestication and progress in digitalization. I conclude that these developments necessitate closer collaboration between historians of science and natural-scientists.