J Syst Evol ›› 1982, Vol. 20 ›› Issue (3): 380-384.

• Research Articles • Previous Articles    

The “Quan Fang Bei Zu”, a first dictionary for Chinese plants

Xu Wen-Xuan, Xiong Ruo-Li   

  1. (Department of Biology, Yunnan University)
  • Online:1982-08-18 Published:1982-08-18

Abstract: 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.

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