John Ray


Synopsis methodica stirpium britannicarum by John Ray (1627-1705) is an epoch-making British flora. The third edition, held by the Roderic Bowen Library and Archives, was edited by J.J.Dillenius, though his name does not appear in the book. This edition is of special interest because it incorporates various plants, including alpines from Snowdon, which had been sent to Ray by Edward Lhuyd. Dillenius himself made the excellent and charmingly arranged drawings. Though the text is basically in Latin, it switches happily into English and back into Latin all through the book, the comments in English being mainly about where the plants are found. So on the Welsh poppy he writes: ‘Papaver luteum perenne...Yellow wild bastard poppy. On the back of Snowdon going from Carnarvan to Llanberis...Observed also by Lr Lhwyd on Clogwyn y Garnedh, Ysgolion Duon, Trigvylche as you ascend the Glyder from Llanberris...most commonly by Rivulets of on moist Rocks.’ The library has several works by Ray, including his Historia plantarum, published in London in parts between 1686 and 1688.