Credit: ┬ęThe Royal Society
    Image number: RS.16316

    The roots of plants - four figures

    21 June 1678
    Marcello Malpighi (1628 - 1694, Italian) , Physician
    Object type
    Archive reference number
    Manuscript page number
    height (page): 308mm
    width (page): 215mm
    Content object
       > plant
    Marcello Malpighi's work on the anatomy of plants was initiated by the Royal Society, who started a correspondence with the Bolognese physician in 1667. In the first letter sent, Henry Oldenburg mentioned that the Fellows were, amongst other things, especially interested in his ideas about plant anatomy. Malpighi worked on his observations for the next ten years, while also corresponding with Nehemiah Grew, who published his Anatomy of Vegetables begun in 1672. Malpighi eventually sent his observations in two batches, one in 1674, the other in 1678. They were published by the Royal Society as Anatome plantarum (London, 1675) and Anatome plantarum pars altera (London, 1679). Malpighi drew all the images himself.

    Fig. 137: arum, type of lily (aron)
    Fig. 138: broomrape (orobanche)
    Fig. 139: turnip (rapum)
    Fig. 140: net of vessels in turnip and radish (rapum et raphanus)

    This page was published as Tab. XXXVIII, in Malpighi, Anatome plantarum pars altera.

    Figures are traced on the back of the page in red chalk, showing how the images were copied for printing.
    Object history
    Printed in Marcello Malpighi, Anatome Plantarum pars altera (London, 1679). The original text of the book is lost, but these are the original drawings.

    At a Royal Society meeting of 4 July 1678, 'A letter in Latin from Signor Malpighi to Dr. Grew, dated at Bologna, 21st June, 1678, N.S.was read, giving notice of his sending to the Society the second part of his anatomy of plants' (Birch 3:418).

    At a Society meeting of 5 December 1678, 'Mr. Hooke presented to the Society a discourse, which he had lately received from the president, written by Signor Malpighi concerning the anatomy of plants, being a farther prosecution of that excellent work of his formerly printed. It was dedicated to the Society, and contained, besides a preface and conclusion, seven several heads or subjects of inquiry. 1. Concerning the vegetation or growth of seeds. 2. Of galls, or the round excrescences growing on an oak. 3. Of the various tumours and excrescencies of plants. 4. Of the hairs, down, and thorns of plants. 5. Of the clasps and the like binding parts of plants. Each of these subjects was illustrated by a great number of schemes and delineations most curiously drawn with distinction of black and red for the better explanation. After the reading of the dedication, which testified the author's great respect for the Society, it was ordered, that a letter of thanks should be sent by Mr. Hooke to him; and that Mr. Hooke should also take care, that the discourse be forthwith printed with all possible correctness; and that a good number of the printed copies be transmitted to the author' (Birch 3:444).
    Related fellows
    Marcello Malpighi (1628 - 1694, Italian) , Physician
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