University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Cabinet of Natural History > Remarks on Joachim Jungius's work method in botany: Ficus indica in his letters, notes, garden and Isagoge Phytoscopica

Remarks on Joachim Jungius's work method in botany: Ficus indica in his letters, notes, garden and Isagoge Phytoscopica

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The polymath Joachim Jungius (1587–1657), professor and temporary director of both academic schools in Hamburg, was one of the first scholars to use dichotomous diagrams to carry out a systematic analysis of the morphology of plants. The plant named Ficus indica is at the centre of this investigation because a significant impact of Jungius’s network on his botanical work can be illustrated by this example. Ficus indica is mentioned several times in Jungius’s legacy which contains various kinds of handwritten sources testifying his ways of recording information systematically and preparing them for his lessons. With the sample of Ficus indica intersections of different spheres of Jungius’s work method can be explained. These spheres describe, for instance his botanical network which included individuals from diverse areas of society, among them friends, colleagues, students, politicians, citizens and trade gardeners. Specific academical and commercial interests were related to these groups. Conditions of transport and interest in seeds, leaves and specimens of Ficus indica become retraceable by means of seed lists and different sorts of catalogues as well as invoices. The worlds of trade and education in a sense are bound together which becomes evident by this example. What can be said about 17th-century naturalists’ work processes in general and regarding their relationships with society?

This talk is part of the Cabinet of Natural History series.

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