c.1500: Arum maculatum given its first official name of Arum officinarum by Matthaeus Lobelius.
12/09/13 /18:29 Category: Timeline
The botanical name Arum maculatum first appears as far back as 1588, when Tabernaemontanus used it in his great herbal: the Neuwe Kreuterbuch, the illustrations of which went on to be used in Gerard’s herbal of 1597. At that time, the name was used in a fairly loose fashion and didn’t necessarily refer specifically to our modern Arum maculatum.
The plant was more commonly known, when it was specifically named at all, as Arum officinarum – or at least it was so called by Matthaeus Lobelius, the French botanist who began the first concerted attempt at botanical classification during the 1500s. In reality, the name didn’t stick, but it does tell us that it was already the ‘type plant’ for the arum genera: the reference or starting point to which all other varieties were compared. The name and the plant as we know them did not come together until 1753, when Linnaeus formally named the plant as such in his famous Species Plantarum, which defined the format for scientific classification that is still used today.
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