PORTA, GIOVANNI BATTISTA DELLA. 1538-1615.
Phytognomonica. Naples: Horatio Salviano, 1588.
Folio (300 x 202 mm). A-2R4 2A-C4 (-2C4, blank). Title within woodcut scrollwork border, portrait of the author on verso, woodcut illustrations in text. 18th century boards. A handful of leaves lightly toned, rubbed.
FIRST EDITION, the earliest issue with the title dated 1588, and with the index which is often absent. Porta addresses matters of vegetable physiognomy, believing the inner nature of plants could be determined from their outward appearance, so "that herbs growing in rock clefts will help break up bladder stones, and that plants resembling flies and butterflies promote fecundity" (Norman). Sir William Osler remarked that Porta "had a fanciful mind, and sought analogies where none existed" (Bibliotheca Osleriana, 3712, 3718). Porta also records the first observation of fungal spores. Adams P1938; Hunt 158; Nissen BBI 463; Norman 1724.