Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Voynich Manuscript: Grape Vine

Common Grape Vine (Vitis vinifera) may be the plant depicted on fol. 9r of the Voynich Manuscript. In the old herbals the grape clusters were often shown disproportionally small. The example is from the British Library, 14th century Tractatus de herbis (Egerton 747 visit here ).


  1. I wish there were some way I could read the entire Vms commentary for this plant. What I do see in the first words of discussion may be indicating "liquiritis" or "licorice": Busbecq discusses a bush called "liquorice-tree" of which they "took (our) fill of the juice extracted from its root" (page 52,"Letters).

    Though it is very difficult for me to see clearly the words of discussion for this folio, this is just about the first time I've seen the discussion without the "Specie" designation. So, I may get back to you after I'm able to read a greatly magnified picture on Boenicke's 408. A tout a l'heure!

  2. Nope, no resemblance to the licorice plant. I then took a closer look at your specimen; I'm pretty sure that the second paragraph is discussing "pelargonium" (and maybe subspecies "graveolens"). The discussion for this pelargonium describes the leaves as resembling grape leaves. I haven't been able to download a photo of "graveolens" with its flowers/seeds.

    Page 54 of Busbecq's "Letters" begins this discussion: "I also found grapes, which they preserve for use in the summer, often wonderfully refreshing." He continues the discussion for the methods of preserving the grapes/raisins (with mustard seeds), and their use as a mildly effervescent beverage. Fascinating.

    So, you may be right on track as far as the Voynich specimen being a grape vine!