Note: It is not the scope of this translation to rewrite Pietro Andrea Mattioli's text, easily found in many libraries. It only wants to show, in a faithful translation, from ancient Czech with modern English words, the uncertainty on plants called narcissus in 16th century Central Europe and to present the numbered illustrations in the text.

It is interesting to note that Mattioli made a critical evaluation of both statements by Dioscorides (indicated as 'Author' in the text) and by his contemporaries. The text clearly makes use also of  Mattioli's German predecessors, in particular Hieronymus Bock, from whom he uses the sarcastical assertion on the fact that each author wants to have his own Narcissos. Important is the distinction made by Mattioli between the "genera" of true daffodils, Muscari (hyacinth), Ornithogalum and tulips, but also between Galanthus nivalis (snowdrop), Leucojum vernum and Leucojum aestivum (all indicated by German authors as Hornungsblum). Some slight adjustments, probably due to the translator Tadeáš Hájek z Hájku or to the revision by Adam Hubert of Riesenpach, can also be noted in the text, made in order to bring it nearer to the constrictions due to the climatic conditions of Central Europe. Significant are also references to C. Clusius as holder of most information on tulips in his time, while this flower is defined as "well known and common".

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About The Daffodil or Small Narcissus Rose.

Chap. CXLI

 

Differences e Properties.

Some presume that the above described Colchicum, Wisenzeitlose, about which we wrote in chapter 82, is Narcissus Theophrasti, and in autumn thay call it Colchicum, in German Zeitlose, in the month of February or in Spring Narcissi florem, in German Hornungsblum, as if they said February Flower. Others further explain 'die weisse Hornungsblum' (which is the true Leucojum Theophrasti) to be Narcissus. So neither the Ancient nor the New Sribanti solve de Narcissis in their writings, and every single one wants to have his own Narcissos. In this time we shall let this be and we shall look at Dioscoridis Narcissus, who describes it in this way: Narcissus has a leaf like garlic, but narrower, smaller and longer. The stem is hollow without leaves, more than a span tall, with white flowers,which have yellow buds in the center. There are also narcissi with purple flowers. The root is spherical like an onion, white inside. The seed is black, long, enclosed in shoots. The best narcissi grow on high mountains and have a delicious smell. Others have a heavy smell like garlic. We have now determined three Narcissos as shown in the drawings: all have white flowers, but yellow and purple can also be found.

It should be written about very many Narcissi here, if time and the nature of the Book permitted it. But we shall stop at those named by the Author, of which the First has already been described. The Second is similar to the First but it has more flowers, double inside, and does not last with us: The Third, so called by the Author, is rather of the genus Hyacinthus, it carries light purple, sometimes yellowish flowers, smells well, is not particularly beautiful to look at: in Turkey they call it Muscari & Dipcadi.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 ( Note:

 I = Narcissus poeticus L.

 II = Narcissus tazetta L.

                   'Romanus Flore Pleno'

 

 III = Muscari muscarimi = H. muscari L.

 

 IV = Narcissus pseudonarcissus L.

         e mutante a fiore pieno )                                      

The Fourth grows in Forests and on Mountains, has a yellow flower and around it six small light yellow leaves, which are quite yellow in those growing in forests. It is found with two or even three flowers, as I myself have it in my own Garden. Yet with time they change back into simple flowers but remain always larger and more curled, they also have broader stems than the common ones. The leaves are shorter when in flower, but when the seed grows, it gets longer. This seed is black and somewhat broad when fresh, but as it gets older it becomes quite spherical and smaller.

The Fifth Narcissus of the Author is considered to be Ornithogalum maius by Dodonaeus, others call it Lilium Alexandrinum, which to our cold regions does not want to get accustomed, it has beautiful snow white flowers, inside with small black heads.

(Note:  5. = Ornithogalum arabicum L.)                

The Sixth is used to be called Tulipa, which is well known to us and is common, it comes in various clours, about this  see in C. Clusius in stirp. Hispan. & Pannonic. obseruat.

( Note: 7. = Galanthus nivalis L.                     

         8. = Leucojum vernum L.)

The Seventh and Eighth, Viola alba Theophrasti, are called in German Weishornungsblumen, Sommerthierlin, Schnetropfen. The smallest of these blooms early with small flowers which have only three small leaves, the larger later, and the largest latest with many flowers at the tip of the stem. But as the eighth be  in latina Epitome Plantarum, or here the nineth, I do not know if it is not Tulipa Bononiensis, which with time emits three or more flowers from the root. About these, and also many others, who would like, can look into often named Books by other Authors, especially Dodonaeus, C. Clusius & Lobelius.

 

Nature, forces and effects.

Narcissi are of hot and dry nature, of bitter taste.

 

Internal use.

The Ancient seldom introduced Narcissi into the body,

only if they wanted to help someone to vomit, then they

cooked the daffodil plant with food to be eaten or drunk,

this induces vomit.

 

External use.

The root pounded and mixed with honey, heals the burns

and pains in limbs also from gout.

 

The root of the daffodil freshly cut or pounded, in its own juice applied warm, heals cut off nerves.

The root mixed with seeds of nettle and vinegar eliminates eczemas, abscesses, acne ed other vices of the skin.

It also softens all swellings, blisters and corns if pounded with vetch or broad bean flour and applied.

Used in this way it pulls splinters, points, thorns and similar things out of wounds. 

 

'Narcissek' ('Daffodil') in Greek si called Nárkissos. In Latin Narcissus. In Arabic Narcessiue Nargies. In Italian and Spanish Narciso. In French Narcisses & lammetes. In German Narcissenrößlein, Uchtblumen, Hornungsblumen and Zeitlosen.   

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