Popular Education

The prospectus names as a goal for the publication of Flora Danica, "to spread ... knowledge about native plants.  Spreading of plant-knowledge among the inhabitants of the country must be encouraged, since botany cannot be of general use as long as it is only a science for ... a few botanists." For this reason the work was published in the "language of the country, Danish and German," or as Oeder writes: "Science must, as far as is possible without damage to its thoroughness, be made easy." To accomodate an international public the work was also published in the learned language of the day, Latin.

To insure that Flora Danica was distributed throughout the kingdoms of Denmark and Norway and the Duchies of Schleswig and Holstein a "considerable number of copies" were sent to the clergy, so that each diocese received several copies.  The bishops could lend them on "to those pastors of the diocese who best knew how to make use of the work and in return serve the Botanical Institute and Garden with their correspondance."  The purpose of handing out free copies to the dioceses was thus twofold: on the one hand botanical knowledge was to be spread, in the other Oeder's botanical institute was to receive botanical reports from all parts of the Danish king's realms.

Flora Danica is a true child of the Enlightenment.

Vinter-EgSessile Oak
Plate no. 2667
Quercus petraea L.