16th century CP cultivation

From: Peter Cole (carnivor@flytrap.demon.co.uk)
Date: Thu Jan 21 1999 - 08:46:20 PST

Date: Fri, 22 Jan 1999 0:46:20 +0800
From: Peter Cole <carnivor@flytrap.demon.co.uk>
To: cp@opus.hpl.hp.com
Message-Id: <aabcdefg186$foo@default>
Subject: 16th century CP cultivation

So how old do you think the hobby of carnivorous plant growing is?
We didn't have an international or UK society until the 1970s.
Most people, I would guess would know the Victorians grew many species,
especially Nepenthes, and perhaps some would recall Tradescant's
introduction of Sarracenia to Britain in the late 17th century.
But I think I've found the oldest reference to the practice yet in
one of the books I quoted from recently re: use of CP's in medicine.

"This Herb...[Rosa Solis = D.rotundifolia]... grows in Bogs, and when
we find it we may preserve it artificially, by either planting it
immediately in other boggy places or else in artificial Bogs, made of
Earth and Water in Tubs, or Earthen Pots, made without holes in the

from _The Herball or Generall Historie of Plants_ by John Gerard, 1597

This conjures up a lovely picture to me of mediaeval housewives up and
down the country making Drosera bog gardens, and presumably enjoying
their sparkliness as much as we do.
It was presumably a well-established practice by the time of writing,
and the 2 other recipes spreading over the next ~130 years show it
continued for at least that long. We are clearly following in the
footsteps of a tradition that goes back over 400 years - rather further
than I think most of us would have expected! Anyone know of any earlier
Quite possibly Pinguicula vulgaris was similarly cultivated at the time,
as this had a number of folk medicinal uses, notably for relieving the
inflammation of chapped udders in milking cattle.

        Happy growing,


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