Hermann’s Collection of Ceylon plants in the Rijksherbarium (National Herbarium) at Leyden
Among the old plant collections in book-form, in the Leyden National Herbarium, there are two large volumes, containing a number of well preserved Ceylon plants. These plants are said to have been collected by PAUL HERMANN in the latter half of the 17th century. PAUL HERMANN¹), afterwards Professor of Botany at the University of Leyden, resided in Ceylon as an ”Ordinary and First Physician“ of the Dutch East Indian Company during the years 1672—1679. Several particularities on his life and on the collections made by him, are to be found in LINNAEUS’S Flora Zeylanica (6), in TRIMEN’S paper entitled ”Hermann’s Ceylon Herbarium and Linnaeus’s Flora Zeylanica“ (8), in BOULGER’S study on the history of Ceylon botany (2) and in ARDAGH’S note on HERMANN’S herbarium (1). During his residence in Ceylon HERMANN collected the herbarium, which is now in the possession of the Department of Botany of the British Museum of Natural History, London. The history of this herbarium has been described in TRIMEN’S paper (8). This was not the only collection he made, for on page 131 of TRIMEN’S paper we find that ”Besides the herbarium under consideration, Hermann formed another whilst in Ceylon, which he sent to ”J. Commelin at Amsterdam. It was from this collection (combined with ”that made by J. Hartog, which was sent from Ceylon to Voss, Curator ”of the Amsterdam Gardens) that J. Burman, Commelin’s successor, com”piled his ‘Thesaurus Zeylanicus’.“ On page 132 TRIMEN mentions still other collections: ”Hermann also sent specimens to other botanists of ”the time, especially to Gronovius“ (the latter fact must be incorrect, for as BOULGER (2) rightly states GRONOVIUS was only five years old at HERMANN’S death in 1695). These ”other botanists“ may have been BREYNE and PLUKENET (see ARDAGH’S note ). It is possible that one of the ”sets“ came in some way into the possession of the Leyden University and is now in the Leyden Herbarium. However, there is a possibility that, after HERMANN’S death in 1695, a part of his plants, were left at Leyden.
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van Ooststroom, S.J. (1937). Hermann’s Collection of Ceylon plants in the Rijksherbarium (National Herbarium) at Leyden. Blumea. Supplement, 1(1), 193–209.