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Exhibition: Herbology

I have noticed a relationship between science and natural philosophy…those writings interest me the most which deal with minerals, plants, and animals.
Swiss naturalist and physician Konrad Gesner, 1551

Because plants and their uses are important to wizards, all students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry are required to take Herbology.

Harry Potter learns how to grow mandrakes, real plants studied by historical botanists. Although this isn’t his favorite subject, the young wizard soon comes to appreciate Herbology. Harry discovers that mandrake is the key ingredient of a potion that will cure his injured classmates.

Harry is reminded of the value of studying plants when he finds a way to breathe underwater during the Triwizard Tournament. A classmate teaches Harry about gillyweed, a fictitious plant that, when ingested, gives its user fins and gills.

  • Hortus Sanitatis (Garden of Health), published by Jakob Meydenbach, 1491

    Courtesy National Library of Medicine

    Historically, scholars believed that studying plants could provide clues as to how nature works. German publisher Jakob Meydenbach compiled earlier writings in this encyclopedia of plant knowledge.

  • Botany discussion from Hortus Sanitatis (Garden of Health), published by Jakob Meydenbach, 1491

    Historically, scholars believed that studying plants could provide clues as to how nature works. German publisher Jakob Meydenbach compiled earlier writings in this encyclopedia of plant knowledge.

  • Hortus Sanitatis (Garden of Health), published by Jakob Meydenbach, 1491

    Courtesy National Library of Medicine

    In 1491, publisher Jacob Meydenback compiled earlier writings into the Hortus Sanitatis. This single volume catalogued hundreds of plant species and their uses, including those of the poisonous mandrake.

  • Female mandrake root from Hortus Sanitatis (Garden of Health), published by Jakob Meydenbach. 1491

    Courtesy National Library of Medicine

    Historical botanists and physicians recognized the mandrake’s medicinal value and sometimes used small doses of the plant as an anesthetic. Some believed that mandrake roots resembled human figures and possessed magical powers, including a fatal scream fictionalized in Harry Potter.

  • Female mandrake root from Hortus Sanitatis (Garden of Health), published by Jakob Meydenbach, 1491

    Historical botanists and physicians recognized the mandrake’s medicinal value and sometimes used small doses of the plant as an anesthetic. Some believed that mandrake roots resembled human figures and possessed magical powers, including a fatal scream fictionalized in Harry Potter.

  • Destillierbuch der rechten Kunst, von Kreutern, Wurtzeln, Blumen, Samen…, (Art of distillation of herbs, flowers, grains), Hieronymus Brunschwig, 1552

    Courtesy National Library of Medicine

    While the fictional gillyweed will not be found in the pages of Destillierbuch der rechten Kunst, this book catalogues pages of helpful information on plants and their useful properties.

  • Kreutterbüch von allem Erdtgewächs (Herbal of all plants of the earth), Eucharius Rösslin, 1533

  • Hortus Sanitatis (Garden of Health), published by Jakob Meydenbach, 1491

    Courtesy National Library of Medicine

    Historically, scholars believed that studying plants could provide clues as to how nature works. German publisher Jakob Meydenbach compiled earlier writings in this encyclopedia of plant knowledge.

    Botany discussion from Hortus Sanitatis (Garden of Health), published by Jakob Meydenbach, 1491

    Historically, scholars believed that studying plants could provide clues as to how nature works. German publisher Jakob Meydenbach compiled earlier writings in this encyclopedia of plant knowledge.

  • Hortus Sanitatis (Garden of Health), published by Jakob Meydenbach, 1491

    Courtesy National Library of Medicine

    In 1491, publisher Jacob Meydenback compiled earlier writings into the Hortus Sanitatis. This single volume catalogued hundreds of plant species and their uses, including those of the poisonous mandrake.

  • Female mandrake root from Hortus Sanitatis (Garden of Health), published by Jakob Meydenbach. 1491

    Courtesy National Library of Medicine

    Historical botanists and physicians recognized the mandrake’s medicinal value and sometimes used small doses of the plant as an anesthetic. Some believed that mandrake roots resembled human figures and possessed magical powers, including a fatal scream fictionalized in Harry Potter.

    Female mandrake root from Hortus Sanitatis (Garden of Health), published by Jakob Meydenbach, 1491

    Historical botanists and physicians recognized the mandrake’s medicinal value and sometimes used small doses of the plant as an anesthetic. Some believed that mandrake roots resembled human figures and possessed magical powers, including a fatal scream fictionalized in Harry Potter.

  • Destillierbuch der rechten Kunst, von Kreutern, Wurtzeln, Blumen, Samen…, (Art of distillation of herbs, flowers, grains), Hieronymus Brunschwig, 1552

    Courtesy National Library of Medicine

    While the fictional gillyweed will not be found in the pages of Destillierbuch der rechten Kunst, this book catalogues pages of helpful information on plants and their useful properties.

  • Kreutterbüch von allem Erdtgewächs (Herbal of all plants of the earth), Eucharius Rösslin, 1533

I have noticed a relationship between science and natural philosophy…those writings interest me the most which deal with minerals, plants, and animals.
Swiss naturalist and physician Konrad Gesner, 1551

Because plants and their uses are important to wizards, all students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry are required to take Herbology.

Harry Potter learns how to grow mandrakes, real plants studied by historical botanists. Although this isn’t his favorite subject, the young wizard soon comes to appreciate Herbology. Harry discovers that mandrake is the key ingredient of a potion that will cure his injured classmates.

Harry is reminded of the value of studying plants when he finds a way to breathe underwater during the Triwizard Tournament. A classmate teaches Harry about gillyweed, a fictitious plant that, when ingested, gives its user fins and gills.