The Naming of Names
By Anna Pavord
For centuries, some of the most brilliant minds in Europe searched for the rules of nature’s game.
In a world full of plagues and poisons, many medicines were made from plant extracts and there was a practical need to differentiate between one plant and another. Alongside this was an overwhelming desire to make sense of the natural world. Scholars, aided by the artists who painted the first pictures of plants, set out looking, writing and classifying, but 2,000 years were to pass before any rules became clear. Anna Pavord takes us on an exhilarating and fascinating journey through botanical history, travelling from Athens in the third century BC, through Constantinople and Venice, Padua and Pisa to the present day.