Polish Botanical Studies GUIDEBOOK SERIES - No 5 (1991) 


Zielnik brata Cypriana z Czerwonego Klasztoru

(The Herbarium of Fra Cyprian from the Red Monastery)

(publikacja w jęz. polskim, 216 str.)

Instytut Botaniki im. W. Szafera PAN, Kraków

PL-ISSN: 08670749   PL-ISBN: 8385444033

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Cyprian was a Camaldulian monk who in 1756-1775 resided in the Red Monastery in the Pieniny Mountains on the Hungarian-Polish boundary, on its Hungarian side. The Red Monastery is now in Slovakia and it has become a museum. Cyprian, apart from his strictly religious duties, had many functions; he was physician and apothecary, cook and fisherman, he dabbled at painting, mirror-production and alchemy. He is also said to have constructed a fly-ing-machine in which he madę a successful flight from the top of a nearby mountain. He also collected medicinal herbs and other plants in the Pieniny and Tatra Mountains, proof of which is his herbarium, preserved at present at the National Museum in Bratislava (Slovakia).

Cyprian was born on July 28, 1724 in Silesia, in the town of Polkowice (now in Poland), and his family name (as discovered by the author) was Franz Ignatz Jaschke; he died on April 16, 1775, in the Red Monastery.
The present study is the first one based on a detailed scientific analysis of the Cyprianus herbarium. The latter has survived as a bulky leatherbound volume, containing on its pages 286 dried plants of 260 genera. The plants are mostly well preserved, and designated by their bolanical names, in five languages: Latin, Greek, Polish, Slovak, and German. The designation of the plants is mostly correct, and there are only 10 mistakes. The nomenclature is partly based on ancient Greek and Latin authors, but also on Linnaeus, who was a contemporary of Cyprian. The Polish and Slovak names are partly dialectal. The names of the plants are often supplemented with notes on their habitat and environment, and also on where they had been collected, especially in the Tatra Mountains. Some of the plants are rare in those localities.
Adjoined to the herbarium are 32 pages, written in German; they contain the monk's medical remarks and various digressions, some of them autobiographical.
The herbarium reveals that Fra Cyprian was an excellent botanist and herbalist. His herbarium is of great value not only to botanists, but also to historians, linguists, ethnographers, and for medical history.


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