The story of Flora Danica

The Story of Flora Danica

Flora Danica is an impressive Danish botanical encyclopaedia, which illustrates many of the wild plants in the Danish / Norwegian empire from 1761-1883, and contains illustrations of 3,240 plants.

The idea of a creation meant to serve as a complete edition of the Danish flora originates from the Age of Enlightenment’s philosophy to rely on reason, and via science gain a better understanding of the world. Therefore, the idea of this creation was also scientifically based. The goal was for Flora Danica to enlighten people about Danish wild plants and their useful or harmful properties. Read the full story at the Royal Danish Library’s webpage

Name from 1648

The name Flora Danica was already used in 1648 when botanist Simon Pauli published a book about herbs with the same name. It contained descriptions of plants of medical interest, but the Flora Danica that we know today, with the many plant motifs, refers to the encyclopaedia from 1761, which was ordered by King Christian IV.

Danish professor of botany, Georg Christian Oder, suggested to the king the idea of creating an encyclopaedia on the Danish / Scandinavian flora, and thus the work began.

51 booklets

Flora Danica turned into several books, and the releases ended up spanning 122 years, until 1883 when it was finally completed. A total of 51 books and 3 supplementary books were published, all of which are incredibly detailed. They illustrate an almost complete notation of Danish wild plants

All the Flora Danica illustrations were published on copper-plated boards, which were then either hand-coloured, or published in a cheaper black and white edition.

Today Flora Danica is not merely considered a scientific piece of work, which goal it was to provide information about the properties of the plants, but also a collection of beautiful, detailed and decorative illustrations  that are all a small piece of art in themselves And that is what we at Flora D find our greatest inspiration in. . See our entire collection here.