“New Plants and Botany before Linnaeus”
Session sponsored by the Botany Section, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, and the National Coalition of Independent Scholars (NCIS). Cambridge, MA, Nov. 20-23, 2003.
As a lead-up for the 300th anniversary of Linnaeus's birth (1707-1778), we propose a session on pre-Linnaean botany and the response to new plants. From prehistory onwards, people who use plants in their work have encountered unfamiliar plants. Before Linnaeus, there was no generally accepted way to name, catalogue, and characterize these 'non-descripts' - to use John Ray's term. We invite proposals of papers that analyze the discovery, dispersion, naturalization, uses, and intellectual impact of previously unknown plants before the mid-eighteenth century.
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