The depictions of the spice that circumnavigated the globe. The contribution of Garcia de Orta’s Colóquios dos Simples (Goa, 1563) to the construction of an entirely new knowledge about cloves


  • Teresa Nobre de Carvalho Centro Interuniversitário da História da Ciência e da Tecnología, Universidade de Lisboa



cloves, Syzygium aromaticum L, Garcia de Orta, Early Modern Botany, Asian drugs and spices


Cloves have been prized since Ancient times for their agreeable smell and therapeutic properties. With the publication of Colóquios dos Simples e Drogas he Cousas Mediçinais da Índia (Goa, 1563), Garcia de Orta (c. 1500-1568) presented the first modern monographic study of cloves. In this analysis I wish to clarify what kind of information about Asian natural resources (cloves in particular) circulated in Europe, from Antiquity until the sixteenth century, and how the Portuguese medical treatises, led to the emergence of an innovative botanical discourse about tropical plants in Early Modern Europe.