Navigation Menu+

Of Homloke or hemloke

William Turner
Steven Mierdman
Early Modern English
History of Medicine Collection Eskind Biomedical Library

In his entry on hemlock, William Turner introduces the plant not with its various names, as was his custom, but with a detailed description of the plant and a direct reference to where it grows abundantly in Germany: “It groweth much about mophedorp (Muffendorf) about three english myle from boue Bon (Bonn).” The initial description of the plant, accompanied by a large woodcut illustration, suggests Turner’s preoccupation with this entry: teach the reader to recognize hemlock so he may avoid it. That he then relates Pliny’s, Dioscorides’s, and Galen’s writings on hemlock (his ‘usual suspects’ of ancient sources) after first providing a pithy description of the plant suggests Turner’s intention: that the information transmitted in this entry be especially pragmatic.