Scilla peruviana

Jim McKenney
Thu, 01 Jul 2010 08:44:19 PDT
When this thread on Scilla peruviana was getting started, Jane McGary
alluded to a story about a confused botanist. I assumed that what she had in
mind was the story told about Clusius going to Bristol to see what became
known as Scilla peruviana; according to this story, Clusius was told that
the plant had arrived on a ship named the Peru. On that basis Clusius named
the plant Hyacinthus stellatus Peruänus (sic). 


This story is told in Col. Gray’s Hardy Bulbs (late 1930s) and in Collin’s
Guide to Bulbs (early 1960s) and in other sources.


I took a quick look at the account of this species in the Clusius Historia
(the 1604 version without the Altera Pars) and saw nothing which corresponds
to this story. Gerard (1597) does not mention this story, nor does his
editor Johnson in the 1633 edition of the Herball. Parkinson in his
Paradisus (1629) makes no mention of it, but he does take a swipe at
Clusius: “but he that gaue that name first vnto it [i.e. Clusius], eyther
knew not his naturall place, or willingly imposed that name, to conceale it,
or to make it the better esteemed.” 


Can anyone tell me where this story first appears in print?  


Jim McKenney

Montgomery County, Maryland, USA, 39.03871º North, 77.09829º West, USDA zone
7, where Agave/Manfreda virginica is finally producing a bit of fragrance.

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