The European Discovery of the Indian Flora

Hardcover | April 30, 1999

byRay Desmond

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The flora of the Indian subcontinent has stirred European curiosity and investigation for over two millennia. From pepper, a coveted commodity of the lucrative spice trade, to rhododendrons, orchids, and alpine flowers, cherished in innumerable British gardens and conservatories, Indian plantshave long been highly prized in the West. This book surveys European perceptions of the diversity of the Indian flora, and examines its impact on European commerce and culture including botany, horticulture, and floral art.It chronicles the growing European awareness of the Indian flora from the first glimmerings of knowledge in the fifth century BC to the demise in the mid-nineteenth century of the British East India Company and of its successor, the India Office. An epilogue briefly surveys the development ofbotanical studies since the independence of India and Pakistan in 1947. The evolution of European-style gardens in India is examined, and the impact of the Indian flora on British gardens is assessed.

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From Our Editors

The flora of the Indian subcontinent has stirred European curiosity and investigation for over two millennia. From pepper, a coveted commodity of the lucrative spice trade, to rhododendrons, orchids, and alpine flowers, cherished in innumerable British gardens and conservatories, Indian plants have long been highly prized in the West. ...

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The flora of the Indian subcontinent has stirred European curiosity and investigation for over two millennia. From pepper, a coveted commodity of the lucrative spice trade, to rhododendrons, orchids, and alpine flowers, cherished in innumerable British gardens and conservatories, Indian plantshave long been highly prized in the West. T...

Ray Desmond, Bentham-Moxon Research Fellow, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:368 pagesPublished:April 30, 1999Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:019854684X

ISBN - 13:9780198546849

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From Our Editors

The flora of the Indian subcontinent has stirred European curiosity and investigation for over two millennia. From pepper, a coveted commodity of the lucrative spice trade, to rhododendrons, orchids, and alpine flowers, cherished in innumerable British gardens and conservatories, Indian plants have long been highly prized in the West. This book surveys European perceptions of the diversity of the Indian flora, and examines its impact on European commerce and culture including botany, horticulture, and floral art. Early accounts were based on the often unreliable reports of explorers, soldiers, and missionaries: Herodotus, Pliny the Elder, and Marco Polo were among those who wrote about Indian plants. The Portuguese conquests of the sixteenth century made possible a more critical study of Indian vegetation. The Dutch and British East India Companies developed a profitable trade in spices, fibres, tea, opium, and indigo, and introduced cash crops such as cinchona, coffee, and rubber to India. Botanists, amateur and professional, classified the flora; botanical garde

Editorial Reviews

'Scholarly, informative, deeply researched, authoritative - all epithets that can rightly be applied to this book ... Not the least valuable part of this work is the extensive and comprehensive bibliography, while a good index enables one to use the volume as a valuable source-book. Individualchapters will become classic essays on their particular topic ... we may hope that reference libraries will make sure that it is on their shelves for, in its field, this is an important and lasting publication .'P.S. Green, Kew Bulletin, Vol. 49 (1)