Exotic plants

Alpini, Prosper. De plantis exoticis libri duo.

Venice, Giovanni Guerilio, 1656.

4to. (16), 344 pp. Engraved architectural title with portraits of Theophrastus and Dioscorides, 145 finely etched and engraved botanical plates in the text, ornamental initials. Contemporary blind-tooled calf with gilt spine. Edges sprinkled red.


Third edition (in fact, a re-issue with changed title page date only) of Alpini's further observations on exotic plants. The specimens here presented were collected primarily in Crete and the Eastern Mediterranean, including many xerophilous plants from Egypt and scores of plants not mentioned in earlier works. The first edition was published posthumously in 1627 and was edited by the author's son, Alpini Alpini. The work (in all its editions) is much rarer than the author's better-known "De plantis Aegyptii". "Date altered by hand [from 1629] to MDCLVI" (Krivatsy).

Prospero Alpini (1553-1617), an Italian physician and botanist, travelled through Greece, Crete, and Egypt from 1580 to 1583 with the Venetian Consul Giorgio Eno. He worked as a medical advisor and took the opportunity to carry out botanical investigations. His work includes the first European recognition of the medicinal value of coffee and introduced banana and baobab. "Alpini became professor of botany at Padua after having spent three years in Egypt" (Garrison/M., p. 992).

Binding rebacked, showing some light wear to extremeties, but a good, clean copy. Provenance: removed from the Large Library at Goodwood House (Chichester, West Sussex) with bookplate on front pastedown; latterly in the collection of Cornelius J. Hauck (his tree bookplate dated 15 March 1944).


Nissen BBI 21. Krivatsy 241 (copy 2). Cf. Pritzel 112. Not in Wellcome, Waller, or Osler.

Stock Code: BN#46794 Tags: , , ,