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Peter Schöffer

The printer Peter Schöffer published in Mainz in 1484 the first German-printed herbal which, having no title, is variously known as Herbarius, Herbarius Moguntinus, Aggregator practicus de Simplicibus and Latin Herbarius with Latin text and woodcut illustrations supposedly derived from a 14th-century manuscript source. It contains no illustration of a peony. In 1485 Schöffer published in Mainz a much bigger differently illustrated herbal with German text variously known as Der Gart, Gart der Gesundheit, Herbarius zu Teutsch and German Herbarius. Illustrations were evidently drawn from nature specially for this work by Erhard Rewich and they were copied in others; as stated by Agnes Arber (Herbals, 2nd ed. 26; 1938),





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“no work which excelled or even equalled them was produced, until a new period of botanical illustration began with the herbal of Brunfels, published in 1530.”

These include one of a peony clearly recognizable as Paeonia officinalis (Fig. 4).

From the book: Peonies of Greece A taxonomic and historical Survey of the Genus Paeonia in Greece

William T. Stearn and Peter H. Davis

1485-1491 The first herbals printed in Germany and known under several names, Gart der Gesundtheit and Ortus Sanitatis, have a crude figure evidently meant for a paeony and the text contains nothing but quotations from Dioscorides

Stern 1946