Rariorum plantarum historia (1601)

1st full monograph written on fungi
Plate: Plate: Genus VI - efculentorum Fungorum [woodcut]

Clusius, Carolinus, 1526-1609.
Rariorum plantarum historia. Quae accesserint, proxima pagina docebit.

[Antwerpiae : Ex Officina Plantiniana, apud Joannem Moretum, 1601.]

Image Courtesy of the Economic Botany Library of Oakes Ames

Original watercolors commission by Clusius that were to be published with his his monograph Fungorum. Plate: Genus VI - efculentorum Fungorum [watercolor]
Clusius, Carolinus, 1526-1609.
These watercolors were misplaced by the printer and were not published until 1900 in:

Istvánffi, Gyula, 1860-1930.
Études et commentaires sur le Code de l'Escluse augmentés de quelques notices biographiques. 
[Budapest, L'auteur, 1900.] Image Courtesy of the Farlow Library of Cryptogamic Botany



Jules-Charles l'Escluse [Latinized as Carolus Clusius] (1526-1609) was born in Arras (Province of Artois, Northern France) on 19 February 1526. His father was a nobleman who served as councilor at the provincial court of Artois. He studied at Montpellier with the botanist Guillaume Rondelet. During his formative years he acquired no less than eight languages and an extensive knowledge of a wide variety of subjects.


His first publication was a French translation of Rembert Dodoens' herbal, published in Antwerp in 1557. Having finished his studies, Clusius worked in various places and occupations. In 1573, after short stays in Paris and London, he was invited to Vienna by Emperor Maximilian II to serve as court physician and overseer of the imperial garden. Sadly because of his religious opinions he soon fell out of favor at court. In 1576 his Spanish flora (Rariorum aliquot stirpium per Hispanias observatarum historia) was published by Christopher Plantin at Antwerp, followed in 1583 by his description of the plants of Austria and neighbouring regions (Rariorum aliquot stirpium, per Pannoniam, Austriam, & icinas quasdam provincia)

In 1593 Clusius was finally awarded a professorship of botany at the University of Leiden in 1593, a chair which he occupied until his death. In the last years at the University of Leiden Clusius published Rariorum plantarum historia (1601). This was his magnum opus, a re-edited version of his earlier works concluding with a previously unpublished section on fungi. Clusius died on the 4 April 1609 and was buried in the Vrouwekerk in Leiden.