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CRC World Dictionary of Medicinal and Poison Plant

Type: Literature (pdf)

Submitter: [anonymous]

Category: Guides / Tutorials - Health / Medical

Exhibition Date: 2018-05-11 15:02:24 MST

Views: 87

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Submitter's Comment
CRC World Dictionary of
Common Names, Scientific Names,
Eponyms, Synonyms, and Etymology

Following on the successes of two previous diction-
ary projects, the CRC World Dictionary of Plant Names
and the CRC World Dictionary of the Grasses, Umberto
Quattrocchi has undertaken this dictionary of economi-
cally important plants. Quattrocchi has again shown a broad
grasp of the literature, of botanical nomenclature and of
many languages to produce this guide to plants that are used
by people around the world in medicine, food, and cultural
practices. Gathered from many sources we have here a guide
to plants that will bring us the pleasure of quickly finding
an answer with well-documented sources. Because use in
medicine is one of several ways in which this book can
inform the reader, Quattrocchi is clear that this work is not
to be done on the authority of these listings alone. Sources
in some entries are contradictory or missing. In this, one
is reminded in the words of Samuel Johnson: “Dictionaries
are like watches; the worst is better than none, and the best
cannot be expected to go quite true.” He has done for these
plants what was so admirably done in his other works —
brought the vast and scattered literature on plant names, and
in this case their uses, too, into coherent order so that the
inquisitive scholar can get a foothold.
Who better to undertake this particular challenge? A phy-
sician by training Quattrocchi provides concise summaries
of plant properties from the literature and offers the appro-
priate caveats about medical uses. His linguistic skills are
evident in his handling of the literature and in the multilin-
gual listings of common names. The derivation of generic
names from the standard Greek and Latin are provided, but
so, too, are those from many other languages.
Having seen the author at work gives me a certain per-
spective on how this massive compilation could come about.
During his several extended visits to the Harvard University
Botany Libraries for work on this and his previous projects, I
observed the intensity with which he worked. For months at a
time he could be found in the reading room among books and
journals of many ilk. Despite the focus on this work, he had
time for discussion with those who passed through and those
who might have a quick question on the state of the world —
he is as well a professor of political science. His diligence in
compiling his dictionaries is matched by his enthusiasm for
the plants themselves, for the authors of the important and
sometimes trivial items that he examined, and for the chal-
lenge of ferreting out some of the improbable information he
presents in these volumes.
Donald H. Pfister
Cambridge, Massachusetts

Keywords: Plants medical guide

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