A Shakespearean Botanical (2015) is a compendium of plants mentioned in Shakespeare’s plays and poems.
There are 49 plants listed in alphabetical order, with three pages dedicated to each plant (with a gorgeous sketch, a quote by Shakespeare, and an explanatory text):
Aconite, Apple, Apricot, Broom, Cabbage, Camomile, Carnation, Carrot, Cherry, Columbine, Crab apple, Crown imperial, Daffodil, Daisy, Deadly Nightshade, Eglantine, Fig, Gooseberry, Hazel, Honeysuckle, Iris, Lady’s smock, Lily, Long purples, Mandrake, Marigold, Medlar, Mistletoe, Mulberry, Oak, Pansy, Parsley, Pear, Poppy, Potato, Primrose, Pumpkin, Quince, Rhubarb, Rose, Rosemary, Rue, Saffron, Samphire, Strawberry, Sweet marjoram, Violet, Walnut, and Wormwood.
An example includes the popular lines from Oberon in Midsummer Night’s Dream (II.1.249-252): ‘I know a bank where the wild thyme blows, Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows, Quite overcanopied with luscious woodbine, With sweet musk-roses, and with eglantine.’
The flowers and herbs of Tudor and Jacobean England are exotic, medicinal, decorative, symbolic, and often edible. There is a rich history on every page, with beautiful illustrations by herbalist and botanist John Gerard (1545-1612), providing a flashback to Shakespearean times. It is a fascinating reference book of the bard’s botanicals.
Photographer: Martina Nicolls