The wild plants of Scotia Illustrata (1684)


  • Lee Raye Cardiff University



Robert Sibbald, 17th century Scotland, botanical history, species history, regional natural history


Scotia Illustrata was published in 1684 and contains a section (II:1) describing 662 ‘naturally occurring plants of Scotland’. This paper sets out to identify and discuss the species in the text. It was possible to identify 652 species from the text and 396 could be securely identified. Most of these are species which are widespread today, but there are some important exceptions. Three arable weeds are mentioned which now seem to be extinct in Scotland: Lolium temulentum, Scandix pecten-veneris and Euphorbia exigua. There are also references to one possibly-extinct river species (Sium latifolium), and one coastal species (Centaurea calcitrapa). Two species, now rare in Scotland, are described in the text as species widespread on roads: Cynoglossum officinale and Hyoscyamus niger.