CORDUS, VALERIUS. Annotationes in Pedacii Disocorides...De Materia Medica eisudem Historiae stirpium lib. IV posthumi [Ed., Conrad Gesner and including his De hortis germaniae...cum descriptione Tulipae Turcarum]. (Strassburg: Josias Rihel), 1561.
Folio, 317 x 212 mm., contemporary quarter blindstamped pigskin over paper boards covered in vellum leaves from early manuscripts (back board with part of a leaf from a latin antiphonal with Hufnagelschrift music notation), worn, worming in margins of some leaves at front, marginal dampstains at end, partly effaced early inscriptions on title.
FIRST EDITION, printer's device on title, 275 woodcuts of plants.
Cordus's commentary is one of the most important botanical books of the sixteenth century. Son of the botanist-poet Euricius Cordus, Valerius Cordus showed exceptional brilliance during his short life, cut short at the age of 29. All of his works were published posthumously. The commentary on Dioscorides is drawn from lectures that he gave while studying at Wittenberg University. This edition contains the first appearance of the important Historia stirpium, describing about 500 plants. Cordus's botanical descriptions were revolutionary in their scientific exactitude: "each description follows a regular pattern and almost always includes, in this order, the characteristic features of stem and leaves, the flower and time of flowering, the fruit and seeds, the number of loculi in the seed, the root, whether annual or perennial, taste and smell, and habitat. Cordus thus established in principle the basis of scientific plant description and his transforming influence is evident in most of the leading botanists who followed him" (Morton). The work was edited by Conrad Gesner, who contributed two of his own works, one on gardening and botanical gardens, the other, entitled De tulipa Turcarum, being the first scientifically accurate description of that flower, a very recent introduction to Europe. The Cordus woodcuts are by David Kandel; most derive from Bock.
Adams C-2627; Nissen BBI 405; NLM/Durling 1025; Stafleu & Cowan TL2 1231.