J Syst Evol ›› 1982, Vol. 20 ›› Issue (3): 380-384.
• Research Articles •
Xu Wen-Xuan, Xiong Ruo-Li
The “Quan Fang Bei Zu”, a first dictionary for Chinese plants, which contains 27
volumes in its first collection and 31 volumes in its second collection, was completed by
Chen Jing-yi in 1253, the First Year of Bao You of Li Zong in Song Dynasty. The
first part of this encyclopaedia of plants is devoted to flowers. The second part is of
more varied nature, dealing with fruit trees, plants in general, herbs, trees, agriculture
and sericulture, vegetables, and medicinal herbs. These two collections cover 267 kinds
of plants, each of which is described under two categories separately: The first category,
“Si Shi Zu” in Chinese, meaning “facts of the plants” concerned, which again divided
into 3 entries, i.e. the history, miscellaneous information and sundry bits of the plants.
The second category, “Fu Yong Zu” in Chinese, meaning poetry, which divided into
10 meters, wherein the plants are described and eulogized in poetrical expressions.
Later on, the “Quan Fang Bei Zu” was used as a blueprint for some famous books
in China, for example, the “Qun Fang Pu” and the “Guang Qun Fang Pu” all written
and compiled after its model. It is known today that in China there are only two
extant hand writting copies of it, one in Beijing Library, the other in the Library of
Yunnan University. Both of them are listed as the best national books. Outside China,
it is known that a third copy of is in the Congress Library in U.S.A. As for the original wood-carving copy printed during the period of the Song Dynasty, it is known so
far that one copy is kept in the Library of Culture Ministry of Japan. The Beijing
Agriculture Publishing House has made a decision to photograph this carved copy in
the Culture Ministry of Japan as one of the “Precious Series of China Agriculture
Science”. The book plays a very important role in the study of chinese botany, agri-culture science, medicine, history and literature.
Xu Wen-Xuan, Xiong Ruo-Li. The “Quan Fang Bei Zu”, a first dictionary for Chinese plants. J Syst Evol, 1982, 20 (3): 380-384.
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