Hand-colored print of Cardamomum minus. Plate 585 from Herbarium Blackwellianum.

Nuremburg: 1750-1765.

Price: $185.00

About the item

With plant and native man standing next to it. 1 vols. c. 14 x 9 inches. Fine. Great Flower Books p.75; Women of Flowers, p. 73.

Item #365367

Elettaria cardamomum, commonly known as green or true cardamom, is a herbaceous, perennial plant in the ginger family, native to southern India. It is the most common of the species whose seeds are used as a spice called cardamom. It is cultivated widely in tropical regions and reportedly naturalized in Réunion, Indochina, and Costa Rica.

Mrs. Blackwell had taken on the task of producing an up-to-date illustrated text of medicinal plants for the purpose of extricating her husband from debtor's prison. Producing the original watercolors, engraving the plates and then handcoloring the engravings, Blackwell raised the money to regulate her husband's affairs, but to little avail since he became involved in a political plot in Sweden and was beheaded there in 1747. The title was republished in Germany some 20 years later, but the British edition is the first edition, and the only edition with the engraving and coloring done by the artist. The British Library website features illustrations from the copy of this publication that belonged to King George III.