ALPINO Prospero - Italy - 1553 - 1616
From Marostica (Vicenza). After obtaining his degree in medicine at the nearby University of Padua, he traveled to Egypt where for three years he studied local customs, animals and plants. After various stays in Venice and Genoa, he became director of the Botanical Garden of Padua and professor of herbalism, continuing his studies and teaching with such passion that he will be described as "medicus botanicus celeberrimus."
Main work: De Plantis Aegypti, Fraulotti, Padova, 1640. De Balsamo
Botanical interests: His works range from the natural sciences to medicine. As a naturalist, he describes many exotic plants, the result of his observations while traveling in Egypt. He is the first to speak of coffee (Coffea Arabica), of balsams derived from resinous plants (Amyris Opobalsamum and Amyris Gilcadensis), of rapontic rhubarb (Rheum ponticum). Unfortunately, his manuscript written on poisonous plants and animals and their anecdotes has been lost. As a physician he became known for an impressive treatise on semeiotics: De praesagenda vita et morte aegrotantium. His other principal works are: De Plantis Aegypti, Plantis Exoticis (posthumous), and the dialogue, De Baslsamo.