The story of Flora Danica
Flora Danica covers an impressive Danish botanical reference work that illustrates many of the wild-growing plants in the Danish / Norwegian kingdom from 1761-1883, and contains illustrations of 3,240 plants.
The idea of creating a work that was to be a collective version of the Danish flora arose from the Enlightenment philosophy of trusting in its reason and through science to better understand the context of the world. Therefore, the idea of the work was also scientifically based. The goal was for Flora Danica to inform people about the Danish wild plants and their useful or harmful properties. Read the whole story on the Royal Library's website.
Name from 1648
The name Flora Danica was already used in 1648, when the botanist Simon Pauli published a book on herbs of the same name. It contained descriptions of plants of medical interest, but the Flora Danica we know today, with its many plant motifs, refers to the 1761 reference work commissioned by King Christian IV.
The Danish professor of botany, Georg Christian Oder, suggested to the king that a work be created on the Danish / Scandinavian flora and thus the work was started.
Flora Danica became many books and the publications ended up stretching over 122 years until 1883 before it was complete. A total of 51 books were published as well as 3 supplementary booklets, all of which are incredibly detailed. They illustrate an almost complete drawing of the Danish wild-growing plants.
All the Flora Danica illustrations were published on copper engraved boards, which were then either hand-colored or published in a cheaper black and white version.
Today, Flora Danica is not only considered to be a scientific work whose purpose was to inform about plant properties, but perhaps more as beautiful, detailed and decorative illustrations, each of which is a small piece of art in itself. At Flora D, we find great inspiration in this.