Mostly I like to think I choose the books which I write about by, discriminating attention to their content or their expression there of. This Bolg comments on a very nice book which has both, and I find it a futile digression to chose which quality is primary in my fascination with this particular title. It goes without argument that the author Robert Lovell was by all means a superior intellect, yet he was most probably nowhere near the showman, or promotors of those much highly more respected of his peers in the Natural sciences. So in my humble way I would like to bring a little CRT (Cathode Ray Tube), LED(Light Emitting Diode) or Retinal display illumination to both the beauty of the flowers around us and the human mind.

Physical description

Robert Lovell St. C.C. Ox. 1630?-1690.

Παμβοτανολόγια: Sive Enchiridion botanicum. Or a compleat herball containing the summe of what hath hitherto been published either by ancient or moderne authors both Galenicall and chymicall, touching trees, shrubs, plants, fruits, flowers, &c. In an alphabeticall order: wherein all that are not in the physick garden in Oxford are noted with asterisks. Shewing their place, time, names, kindes, temperature, vertues, use, dose, danger and antidotes. Together with an introduction to herbarisme, &c. appendix of exoticks. Universall index of plants: shewing what grow wild in England. By Robert Lovell St. C.C. Ox.

Oxford : printed by William Hall, for Ric. Davis, An. 1659.

Price $1,700

Octavo, 13.5 x 7 cm. Signatures: *12 **12 ***12 ****⁶ A-F12G10H12I10K12(no signatures L,M,N, Yet no lacuna)O-Z12  Aa-eE¹². (Lacking one leaf O12 supplied in a photostatic copy) First Edition This copy is bound in modern calf. 


Lovell was a student of Christ Church, Oxford, ‘by favour [according to Wood] of the visitors appointed by parliament’ in 1648, and graduated B.A. in 1659 and M.A. in 1663. He studied botany, zoology, and mineralogy, and his works on these subjects were published in 1659 and 1661, while he was still apparently resident in Oxford. ‘Afterwards,’ Wood continues, ‘he retired to Coventry, professed physic, and had some practice therein, lived a conformist, and died [there] in the communion of the church [in November.  Lovel’s first work was Παμβοτανολόγια: …; or a Compleat Herball, It contains a list of nearly 250 authors cited; but Pulteney mentions it mainly ‘to regret the misapplication of talents, which demonstrate an extensive knowledge of books, a wonderful industry in the collection of his materials, and not less judgment in the arrangement.” (DNB) There are close to 60 plants I can find in no other places?


I must agree with Old Pulteney (the friend of Swift, not the Scotch) that Lovells presentation of the material is inspired, the structure of this work demonstrates an innovative understanding information.

This Book begins with an Introduction to Herbalisme, which deals with the Therapentick as well as the Threpictick, The first containing 52 definitions of concepts, and the second six definitions of general concepts.

Hereafter is the Catalogue of Authors cited with abbreviated ( i.e. “Dod. for Dodonæus 1305.) symbols for each book* an a table of abbreviations for common terms used throughout the description of the plants.

And so begins the crux of the book, an Alphabetical descriptions of plants by their common English name (i.e. Adders Tongue) followed by its Latin name, then Place,Time of flurshing Other names, References to other sources for information on this plant (i.e. Gerard, John) VIRTUES, (the medicinal uses)… and on and on, gathering and sorting all the information Lovett could find on each plant. He is terse and specific in his listings. Contuning for five hundred and fifty pages.

Emphractick or obstructing, pachyntick, and thickening, which are the same: for as those things which are detergent and purging doe free the pores and passages from obstruction, so these obstruct and fill the same, and make the humors of the body tough and thick. (*5r) ,

Arrow-head. Sagittaria. P.(lace) In the ditches, as neere Oxford, &c. T(ime). Fl:(owers) in May and June. N.(ame). [Greek]. Magopistana. Lingua serpentis. Arrow-head. Ger: K(ind). as the great, small. & narrow-leaved. T. are cold and drie. V.(ertue) like plantaine in faculty and temper. Ludg.(Lugdunensis 1587) cold and moist, but they are rather cold and dry, and astringent, like plantain: so the seed given in wine h, fluxes, spitting of bloud, the fretting in the gutts, distillations, bloudy urine, and consumptions, the seed d. h. the dropsie, and falling sicknesse; the powder of the leaves kills wormes, and ap. h. sores inflamed. (p. 18)

At page 551 we have the INDEX of the Latin names.

From page 587 to the end 671, is an alphabetical catalogue of disesaes mentioned in this book and cross referenced with the herb which may be utilized to address the problem. (beginning with the following Image)

Wing (2nd ed.); L3243; Madan, III, 2450; Thomason; E.1858[1].; Thomason; E.1859[1]; Pritzel (2nd ed.) 5638; Alston XVII.I.254.

Wow What a Book!