ICONOGRAPHY OF THE SOLANACEAE FROM ANTIQUITY TO THE XVIITH CENTURY: A RICH SOURCE OF INFORMATION ON GENETIC DIVERSITY AND USES
The systematic study of solanaceous plant iconography has been a neglected source of information although historical records (ceramics, painted and printed images in manuscripts, and printed documents) are numerous. Many wild and domesticated solanaceous species have been associated with human culture from antiquity, as medicinal, ritual or magical herbs and/or food crops in the Old World (alkekenge, belladonna, eggplant, henbane, mandrake) and New World (capsicum pepper, datura, husk tomato, potato, tobacco, tomato). Mandrake (Mandragora spp.) images can be found in Egyptian sources in the second millennium BCE, and along with alkekenge (Physalis alkekengi) and black nightshade (Solanum nigrum aff.) are found in the oldest extant copy of the Materia Medica of Dioscorides (Codex Vindobonensis, Aniciae Julianae, 512 CE), as well as in many later Medieval and Renaissance sources. Images of henbane (Hyocyamus spp.) appears in the VIIIth century while belladonna (Atropa belladonnav) first appears in the Renaissance. Images of eggplant (Solanum melongena), an Asian crop, are found in Asian and European manuscripts from the XIVth century onwards. Images of New World species are present in pre-Columbian sources, attesting to their wide use by native populations. They appear in Renaissance herbals from the mid-XVIth century onwards, displaying an astonishing diversity in terms of species and morphology.
Daunay, M.-C., Laterrot, H. and Janick, J. (2007). ICONOGRAPHY OF THE SOLANACEAE FROM ANTIQUITY TO THE XVIITH CENTURY: A RICH SOURCE OF INFORMATION ON GENETIC DIVERSITY AND USES. Acta Hortic. 745, 59-88
alkekenge, belladonna, capsicum pepper, datura, eggplant, henbane, husk tomato, mandrake, nightshades, potato, tobacco, tomato, Renaissance herbals