Flora Danica

The story of Flora Danica

Flora Danica is a piece of Danish cultural history, it is the name of one of the world's first and largest plant works. The work is considered one of Denmark's largest contributions to the Enlightenment. 

The work was many years in the making and was published from 1761 to 1883 and consists of several thousand beautifully colored paintings of the entire Scandinavian wild flora. Flora Danica consists of 51 booklets and 3 supplementary booklets with a total of 3,240 copper-plated boards.

Before 1752, Denmark had no independent botanical research institutions and botany was largely only used in medicine. However, great potential was seen in botany from a medical point of view from the useful and harmful properties of the plants. In 1752, the king employed the doctor Georg Christian Oeder as professor of botany for the Royal Botanical Institute.

In 1753, Oeder called for the publication of a Flora Danica with depictions of all the plants that appeared wild in the kingdom. (The kingdom at that time also consisted of Norway.) The purpose of the work was to inform and spread knowledge of botany. The title "Flora Danica" had been used before by botanist and physician, Simon Paiulli who at the instigation of Christian IV, published an herbal book entitled Flora Danica It is: Danish Herbal Book in 1648. This book described the plants that had special medical interest and had aimed at raising the awareness of the effects of plants on ordinary people who could not afford to see a doctor.

Work on the publication of Flora Danica took over 123 years and stretched from 1761 to 1883. In 1814, the Danish-Norwegian dual monarchy was dissolved, after which work on the uptake of the Norwegian plants stopped. In 1847, it was proposed to turn Flora Danica into a Scandinavian plant. Shortly after, work began on the completion of the Norwegian plants and adding the most important of the plants found only in Sweden. This became a supplementary volume with 3 booklets and 180 boards.

Today, Flora Danica represents a fascinating story, with a royal touch as well as diplomacy and deep respect for the highest quality, care, and attention to detail.