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Rembert Dodoens

Rembert Dodoens
Born 29 June 1517(1517-06-29)
Died 10 March 1585 (aged 67)
Occupation physician and botanist
Spouse(s) Kathelijne de Bruyn(e)
Rembert Dodoens00.jpg

Rembert Dodoens (Mechelen, 29 June 1517 – Leyden, 10 March 1585) was a Flemish physician and botanist, also known under his Latinized name Rembertus Dodonaeus.

In 1530 he started his studies of medicine, cosmography and geography at the University of Leuven, where he graduated in 1535. He established himself as a physician in Mechelen in 1538. He married Kathelijne De Bruyn(e) in 1539. He had a short stay in Basel (1542-1546). He turned down a chair at the University of Leuven in 1557. He equally turned down an offer to become court physician of emperor Philip II of Spain. He became the court physician of the Austrian emperor Rudolph II in Vienna (1575-1578). He then became professor in medicine at the University of Leiden in 1582.

Dodoens' herbal Cruydeboeck with 715 images (1554) was influenced by that of Leonhart Fuchs. He divided the plant kingdom in six groups. It treated in detail especially the medicinal herbs, which made this work, in the eyes of many, a pharmacopoeia.

It was translated first into French in 1557 by Charles de L'Ecluse (Histoire des Plantes), into English (via L'Ecluse) in 1578 by Henry Lyte (A new herbal, or historie of plants), and later into Latin in 1583. In his times, it was the most translated book after the Bible. It became a work of worldwide renown, used as a reference book for two centuries.[1]

Dodoens's last book, Stirpium historiae pemptades sex (1583) was the Latin translation of his Cruydeboeck. It was used as a source by John Gerard for his Herball.

Dodoens is commemorated in the plant genus Dodonaea, which was named after him by Carolus Linnaeus. Dodoens indicates Rembert Dodoens when citing a botanical name.

Title page of his Cruydt-Boeck


Selected works

  • Herbarium (1533)
  • Den Nieuwen Herbarius (1543)
  • Cosmographica in astronomiam et geographiam isagoge (1548)
  • De frugum historia (1552)
  • Trium priorum de stirpium historia commentariorum imagines (1553)
  • Posteriorum trium de stirpium historia commentariorum imagines (1554)
  • Cruydeboeck (1554)
  • Physiologices medicinae tabulae (1580)
  • Medicinalium observationum exempla rara (1581)
  • Stirpium historiae pemptades sex (1583)
  • Praxis medica (1616) (posthumous)
  • Ars medica, ofte ghenees-kunst (1624) (posthumous)




  1. ^ "Rembert Dodoens: iets over zijn leven en werk – Dodoens' werken" (in Dutch). Plantaardigheden – Project Rembert Dodoens (Rembertus Dodonaeus). Stichting Kruidenhoeve/Plantaardigheden, Balkbrug, the Netherlands. Revised 20 December 2005. Retrieved 17 May 2007. "... het Cruijdeboeck, dat in 1554 verscheen. Dit meesterwerk was na de bijbel in die tijd het meest vertaalde boek. Het werd gedurende meer dan een eeuw steeds weer heruitgegeven en gedurende meer dan twee eeuwen was het het meest gebruikte handboek over kruiden in West-Europa. Het is een werk van wereldfaam en grote wetenschappelijke waarde. De nieuwe gedachten die Dodoens erin neerlegde, werden de bouwstenen voor de botanici en medici van latere generaties. (... the Cruijdeboeck, published in 1554. This masterpiece was, after the bible, the most translated book in that time. It continued to be republished for more than a century and for more than two centuries it was the mostly used referential about herbs. It is a work with world fame and great scientific value. The new thoughts written down by Dodoens, became the building bricks for botanists and physicians of later generations.)"  

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