The Patten Collection of Herbals
and Early Gardening Books

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the term herbal, not used until 1516, denotes a "book containing names and descriptions of herbs or of plants in general, with their properties and virtues." Herbals can be appreciated not only for their botanical information, but also for the outstanding graphic artistry that enhances them, for the many styles of expression, and for interesting turns of phrase.

Writers of early herbals were more concerned with curing illnesses than describing plants, and thus these early publications included remedies not only from the plant world, but also from the animal and mineral kingdoms. It is important to remember that many of these herbals pre-date the current Linnean botanical classification scheme, which complicates any comparison with modern plants.

PAT-Intro Subjects

Authors & Titles in this collection

Doris and Marc Patten, photographed at home in their Montana ranch house, collected these landmark herbals and early gardening works which date from the 15th century.

Early HERBALs as served by using's Book Reader