Views & Reviews Past Caring

Flower power

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.f2525 (Published 24 April 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f2525
  1. Wendy Moore, freelance writer and author, London
  1. wendymoore{at}ntlworld.com

Spring has finally sprung and gardens will soon be blooming. But as we enjoy displays of fuchsias, dahlias, gardenias, and lobelias, we should spare a thought for the doctors who gave some of our most popular garden plants their names.

Plants have played a vital role in medicine since earliest times so doctors have always collected and studied botanical specimens. Greek and Roman practitioners first classified plants and their medicinal uses. Renaissance medical writers revived and continued the Classical tradition. The Bavarian born physician Leonhart Fuchs (1501-66) depicted more than 500 medicinal plants in his huge …

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