Account of 'Historia Plantarum Species...' by J Ray

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                                Historia Plantarum Species tractenus? editas aliasqe in super multas noviter inventas et 
descriptas complectens et o.c. Autore Joanne Rajo e Societate Regia. Tomus primus Londoni 
1686 fol. Apud Henricum Faithorne R.S. Typographum ad insigne rosae in Caemeterio D. Pauli 

The excellent Author of this great work is so well known for his incomparable 
skill in the Botanick Science, and other parts of usefull learning, that it will bee needless to say any 
thing of him. The forreign journalls having given accounts of this book have prevented 
the mentioning of many particulars, but they only speaking in generall, and per saltum, neglecting 
the divisions, subdivisions, and the method, I shall therefore only confine 
myself to those particulars.
This first Tome contains 18 books, to which are premised the a Botanick Lexicon 
or interpretation of terms of art together with an account of most of the writers that have 
handled the subject of plants. The first book treats of plants in generall, as of their roots, stalks,
sap, juices, and their motions, and differences; of gems or buds, leaves, flowers, fruits, seeds, clavicles
or climbers, prickles, their varieties, and vegetations; of sowing, propagating, cultivating, grafting,
or inoculating; of the transmutations of plants, their statures or magnitudes, their ages or duration,
their faculties, tasts, and uses, their places, and divisions; of collecting, drying, and preserving them,
their chymical Analysis, and their 
The 2d Book begins with particulars, as the imperfect plants, such as seem to have 
no flower or seed; these are either submarine, as the Coralls, sponges, Alga’s, wracks etc. Or Terres 
triall, as the Mushroomes, and Barren mosses. Or subterraneous as the Truffles; some of the fungi and mosses 
have visible seeds; these are all subdivided into subordinate genera, as the Mushroomes according 
to their lamellae, plates, brims, and caps, and as they are noxious or esculent, or grow upon 
The 3d Book contains the capillary or acaulose herbs, which bear their very minute seeds on the backs of their 
leaves, that are conspicuous by the microscope; these are subdivided according to their leaves, as 
they are whole, entire and undivided; or variously cut, laciniated, pinnate, and ramose. Of this 
kind are the Ferns, The Spleenworts, Polypodies, maiden hairs etc. which have nothing like a flower 
The 4th treats of such herbs as have an imperfect or stamineous flower 
commonly call’d apetalose, because it is not composed of petala, or tender fugacious coloured 
leaves, only of a calyx or cup, of stamina or capillaments or styles; these are subdivided 
into such whose fruits are not contiguous to their flowers, as in Hops, Hemp, Nettles, Spinache, Mercury,
Palma Christi; the American physick nut etc. II into such that have a triguetrous or triangular 
seed, as the Docks, Sorrells, Arsmarts, Knotgrass, Snakeweeds. III into those that have round, compres’d 
and otherwise figured seeds, as the Pondweeds, Orrackes, Sea Purslane, the Blites, the Amaranthi,
the Beets, some Kales etc.
The 5th Book begins with those that have a perfect planifolious flower, or tender co 
loured petala, or leaves, that make up a compound flower; these are I either lactescent, mil 
ky, and pappose, containing their seeds in a lanugo or downy substance, as the Lettices,
Sow thistles, succorys, Hawkweeds, Mouse-ears, Dandelyons, Scorzonera’s or Viper-grass, Goats beard, etc. 
II such as have solid seeds without any pappus or lanugo, as Endive, Nipplewort, and some succorys.
these are lactescent.
The 6th contains the Herbs that are not milky, and yet bear their 
seeds in a downy or pappose substance, succeeding the flowers; these have either radiated, 
discose, and flat flowers, as Colts-foot, the Coryza’s or Fleabanes, Elecampane, The star-worts,
the Leopards banes, the Golden Rods, the staecha’s, the Jacobaea’s or Ragworts; or else the flower is 
disposed into a thyrsus or spike, as in the Petasitis or Butterbur. 
The 7th is of the capitate Herbs, whose flowers are fistular, and whose seeds 
are included in a squamose calyx or cup, conglobated into a head, fill’d with a pappus of 
this kind are the Blew-Bottles, saw-wort, the Jacea’s or Knapweeds, the great Centory, the great Burr-
dock, and most of the Thistles, which are subdivided according to their heads, flowers m prickles,
spots, consistence of their leaves, etc.
The 8th comprehends the corymbiferous, that are not pappose, these have 
either a radiated, or a naked flower, and are subdivided according to the colours of the barbulae 
and discus, and from the figures the flowers make - of this Tribe are the sun flowers, the 
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Account of 'Historia Plantarum Species...' by J Ray, 1686. From The Royal Society, CLP/22i/26



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