Category Archives: Voynich plants

Alain Touwaide on the Voynich – a review by René Zandbergen

I am grateful to René Zandbergen, whose authoritative site on the Voynich manuscript can be found here, for contributing the following review:

On the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the acquisition by the Society of Jesus of Villa Mondragone, the Second University of Rome ‘Tor Vergata’ has published a new book about the Villa.
The book, …

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Herbal Research Seminar

I just thought I would advertise this event, as it is obvious interest to the Voynich. It is in London on 14th October (with apologies to those far away!)
Seminar on Trade, Discovery and Influences in the History of Herbal Medicine
Note that the deadline for registration is very soon – 14th September at 9am!
Details of the day:
Trade, Discovery …

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Voynich plant on f100r – broccoli?

Below is an email sent to me by Dr. Ramiro Gianinazzi, Switzerland. I thought it was interesting so he gave me permission to post it. It refers to this plant on f100r:

Dr. Ramiro Gianinazzi writes as follows:
“In the folio 100 is illustrated a plant which looks like a vegetable of the “brassica oleracea” family (especially broccoli).
In Italy, what …

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Voynich plant 33r

Can you help us to identify this interesting plant, with two heads in the roots, and also decode the name? See below a picture from a 15th century Italian manuscript which also has two heads in the roots. The manuscript is described here.
A number of people have added suggestions on these pages. See below for discussion.
Step 1: Look at …

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Voynich plant 7r

Can you help us to identify this plant and also decode the name?
Step 1: Look at the Voynich plant picture above. Look also at the possible name of that plant from the same page.
Step 2:  Look at some other expert suggestions, below, for what this plant might be. Some are borrowed from here.
Step 3: If you have any good …

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On factors distorting the plant images of the Voynich Manuscript

Contributed by Anonymous ‘Biologist, Finland’.  Many thanks to him for his insightful commentary and guidance.
Aims and limitations
This is an introductory text for people who aim to identify plant species illustrated in the Voynich Manuscript (VM, below).
The author of the present text is a Finnish Biologist who has spent some spare time with the VM illustrations. …

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Italian herbal – Veneto 15th century

See other interesting manuscripts here.
This  wonderful manuscript has 192 drawings of plants (Manuscript on paper. Veneto? Italy, S. XV). It is described as follows:
“This herbal was begun in the first half of the 15th century and continued for about half a century. It presents an interesting contrast between the early, conventional representation of plants and …

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Italian herbal manuscript – Vermont

I’ve started a new section on the website to list interesting mediaeval manuscripts.
This fascinating manuscript at the University of Vermont was brought to my attention by David Wiffler on this website, who said:
“There is a plant here: that has two human heads attached to the root system. There is a similar thing in an old Italian herbal …

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Voynich manuscript: the Mexican theory

A lot of people have recently asked me my opinion about the Voynich ‘New World’ theories, for example suggestions that it was written in Mexico in an Aztec language, because the plants look Mexican.
Such theories tend to date the production of the manuscript to the 1500’s, and explain the carbon dating (1400’s) by suggesting, for example, that …

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Ricinus communis illustration

See a full discussion of this plant and picture here.
 Illumination, France, Robinet Testard (?), ca 1500. Illustration  of Palma Christ/Ricinus for Matthaeus Platearius, Le Livre des simples médecines. Fr. F. v. VI, 1. fol. 154 v, St. Petersburg, National Library