1491 Bausor opium tree Hortus Sanitatis

1491 Bausor opium tree Hortus Sanitatis

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Credit: PAUL D STEWART/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: 1491 Woodblock illustration from Ortus (Hortus) sanitatis - translated from the latin as "Garden of Health". The Bausor tree was said to kill anyone who slept under it in their sleep. It may have been inspired by the known effect of plant opium extracts. The Hortus was the first printed natural history encyclopaedia and was published by Jacob Meydenbach in Mainz, Germany in 1491. He describes plants and animals (both real and mythical) together with minerals and various trades, with their medicinal value and method of preparation.

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Keywords: 15th century, caxton, colour, deadly, drug, drugs, encyclopedia, herbal, hortus, illustration, incunabla, meydenbach, middle ages, mythical, opium, ortus, print, printed, sanitas, sanitatis, sleep, woodcut

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