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Botanische Forschungen des Alexanderzuges

Nature volume 68, pages 292293 (30 July 1903) | Download Citation



THE criticism passed by Sachs in his “History of Botany ”on the writings of the ancient classical writers, including Theophrastus, seems to have been unnecessarily severe where he passes over their “corrupt texts ”with a brief mention. At that time the study of geographical and ecological botany had not received the stimulus which was mainly induced by the appearance of Schimper's master work, “Die Pflanzengeographie.”It would hardly be going too far to say that it required the development of this branch of the subject to admit of the full appreciation of Theophrastus's work. For the essential feature of Theophrastus's “Plant Geography,”and this book is the main source of information concerning Alexander's expedition, is the painting of a series of word pictures, illustrations of types of vegetation, in which, while correct morphological ideas could hardly be looked for, the descriptions, in their accuracy of observation and power of expression, are not often excelled by those due to present-day writers. As might be expected, some of the accounts are difficult of explanation, and discrepancies arise which have demanded considerable skill and enthusiasm on the part of Dr. Bretzl to clear up. Others are more obvious; thus the paragraph which begins:—

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