The introduction of the printing press in the fifteenth century sparked an unprecedented enthusiasm for plants.
Dioscorides Pedanius of Anazarbos
(flourished first century A.D.)
De materia medica.
Cologne: Johann Schott, 1529.
Inspired by some of the first books to be printed—classical Greek and Roman botanical texts—early Renaissance botanists set out to acquire, understand, and use the world’s plants.

The book quickly became an invaluable tool for sharing botanical discoveries. Plant-based medical reference books became best-sellers, while beautifully illustrated volumes introduced new and desirable plants from all parts of the world. And books from travel journals to political treatises, documented Europe’s growing awareness that plants had potential as valuable commodities.

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Early Botanical Books | A Common Language For Discovery |
| Exploring The World | Discovering America's Plants |










Plants in Print: The Age of Botanical Discovery is a collaboration
between the United States Botanic Garden and the Chicago Botanic Garden
to share the rich history of botany and plant exploration with a nationwide audience.

The Chicago Botanic Garden is owned by the Forest Preserve District of Cook County.
©United States Botanic Garden and Chicago Botanic Garden
Photographs by William Biderbost © Chicago Botanic Garden