Pre-Linnaean herbaria viva of Helwing in the collections of the National Library of Poland and the University of Warsaw

Krzysztof Spalik

Abstract


Georg Andreas Helwing (1666–1748) was the author of two important early accounts on the flora of former East Prussia: “Flora qusimodogenita” and “Supplementum florae prussicae”. Along with his son-in-law Matthias Ernst Boretius, he prepared several herbaria viva. Four of these herbaria survived until WWII; however, their whereabouts since WWII have been generally unknown. In this paper, two of these herbaria are described: one preserved in the collections of the National Library of Poland and another in the herbarium of the Faculty of Biology of the University of Warsaw. Both were formerly in the possession of the Königsberg city library. These herbaria document not only Helwing’s studies on the native flora of Prussia but also his experiments with acclimation of exotic species in his garden in Stullichen (Stulichy, Poland). They are also an important source of vernacular Polish and German names of plants.

Keywords


botanic history; Boretius; ethnobotany; Helwing; herbarium vivum; Prussia

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