Flora española ó Historia de las plantas que se crian en España



José Quer Martínez

author biography José Quer Martínez. Perpignan (January 26, 1695) – Madrid (March 19, 1764). Botanist and surgeon. Family traditions brought him to enrol in the army, developing his work as a surgeon at several destinations in Spain, North Africa or Italy. In the places where was stationed, he coordinated his professional labour with the visit, during spare time, to pharmacies or botanic gardens.

His service was awarded with the appointment as the first surgeon of the army attendant. So, he moved to Madrid in the company of his colonel, brother of Atrisco duke. Since that moment, this duke allowed Quer to cultivate, in a garden of his property, all kinds of curious plants gathered during his journeys. This place increased by hiring new areas until the formation of a genuine botanic garden itself. These very plants were transferred and served to feed the Real Botanic Garden, founded by the Sovereign Ordinance of 17th October 1755 and where botanic teaching began two years after, under the direction of Quer himself.

Editor: Madrid, Joachín Ibarra
Year of edition: 1762-1764

In addition to evident teaching labour, giving to contemporary readers a very valuable knowledge about a long amount of vegetable species, the author expected to accomplish a double purpose with this work: on one hand, reclaim the position of Spain among botanic science against the outside criticism, given the opinions heard in other states. To do this, it was necessary to correct the important base error that implied not possessing a major treatise about plants on the own territory. On the other side, Quer insisted on a central role for botany, especially its practical aspect, without which agriculture can progress properly. Something necessary because of the multiple uses of vegetables.

Flora Española meant a compendium of Spanish plants collected by the author during his journeys as a military surgeon. This exercise reveals the exchanges between Old and New Worlds, too: the work describes new plants that were unusual in Spanish context several years ago, prove of their assimilation in Iberian traditions. Quer labour, beyond this proper work, analysing in global terms his efforts in the field of botany, can be understood from our point of view like a great impulse to the development of this discipline into the Iberian Peninsula. In 1784, Casimiro Gómez de Ortega wrote two more volumes as a sequence of this work based on notes left by Quer.


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