Document Type

Article

Date

Spring 1991

Embargo Period

7-25-2011

Keywords

Thomas Hariot, Jacques Cornut, Botanical Gardens, John Bartram, American Natural History

Language

English

Disciplines

Botany | Library and Information Science

Description/Abstract

The first written descriptions of the flora of North America were those of sixteenth-century Europeans who marvelled at the botanical treasures brought to them by explorers of the New World. The earliest account of American natural history was that of the English botanical explorer Thomas Hariot who wrote his Briefe and True Re, port of the New Found Land of Virginia in 1590 after returning from an expedition arranged by Sir Walter Raleigh. Hariot carried to En, gland tubers, fruits, and seeds of plants previously unknown in Europe. Perhaps thirty different plant species had been introduced into Europe from the New World by 1600, most of these valued for their practical uses or unusual properties. Pumpkin, persimmon, potato, sunflower, mulberry, sassafras, arborvitae, maize, chestnut, black walnut, and tobacco found their way to Old World gardens.

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