Book of the month

21 Sep 2023

Studies on the vegetation of Cyprus: based upon researches during the spring and summer 1905, Jens Holmboe, A/S John Griegs Boktykkeri, 1914.

Studies on the vegetation of Cyprus: based upon researches during the spring and summer 1905, Jens Holmboe, A/S John Griegs Boktykkeri, 1914.

Jens Holmboe (1880-1949) was a Norwegian botanist best known for his research on the vegetation of Cyprus. His dedication to studying and writing about plants made him a respected botanist in the early 20th century.

He visited Cyprus from January to October 1905, where he explored and documented the unique flora of the island, contributing valuable insights to the understanding of Mediterranean plant life. This research served as the basis for his work, “Studies on the Vegetation of Cyprus: Based Upon Researches During the Spring and Summer 1905”, which also includes illustrations chiefly reproduced from his photographs.

Holmboe chose Cyprus for its diverse geography, with both high mountains and low plains. His aim was to learn more about this Mediterranean region, which had affected Scandinavian flora. During his stay, he received help from the local authorities and residents and he expressed his gratitude, saying: “I shall always remember with pleasure and gratitude the infinite kindness and readiness in every way with which I was met by the consul and his son, Mr. Luke Pierides”. [...]Another visit was paid to Mr. C. D. Cobham, commissioner of Larnaka, who also took a lively interest in my researches and who placed a room in one of the Government’s store-houses at Larnaka at my disposal for the safe preservation of my possessions”.

His work involved studying plants from Cyprus, including those he collected himself, which were later examined at various botanical institutions across Europe. Additionally, he reviewed earlier plant collections from the island, adding to the knowledge of Cyprus's flora. “The most recent contribution to the flora of Cyprus is a paper by an English author, Harold Thompson, who has in “Journal of Botany” in the autumn of 1906 published a list of Cyprian vascular plants.”

Sir Arthur Oliver's contributions to botany, particularly his insights into Mediterranean plant life, continue to be valuable resources for botanists, ecologists, and enthusiasts interested in the study of plant biodiversity and the impact of environmental factors on vegetation. He emphasized the need for more detailed investigations to better understand the historical development of Cyprus's flora, saying: “The history of the Cyprian flora can, in the present day, be written only briefly and summarily. In order to understand better the development of the flora in the course of past ages, we want more minute investigations of the flora of the island itself and of that of the neighbouring countries than are yet at hand […]”

You can find this book, and many more, in the Research Centre of the CVAR.

The 'Book Of The Month' series is made possible with the support of OPAP (Cyprus).

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