Ibn al-Baytar

Full name: 
Ibn al-Bayṭār al-Mālaqī, Ḍiyāʾ Al-Dīn Abū Muḥammad ʿAbdllāh Ibn Aḥmad
Arabic name: 
ابن البيطار‎
Date of birth: 
1197
Date of death: 
1248

Ibn al-Baytar was born in Malaga and studied in Seville, where he collected plants with his teachers. Ibn-al-Baytar travelled in Spain and North Africa as an herbalist, and later lived in Cairo as Chief Herbalist. From Egypt he travelled extensively through Syria and Asia Minor, and died in Damascus in 1248.

A pupil of Ibn Rumiya, Abu al-Abbas al-Nabâti (the Botanist), Ibn al-Baytar was also greatly influenced by the work of Al-Ghafiqi's (d. 1165) Kitab al-Adwiyat al-Mufradah (The Book of Simple Drugs). Of his outstanding works, one concerned Materia Medica, the other was on simple remedies-medical preparations containing but one ingredient. The latter was a description of animal, vegetable and mineral ingredients, obtained from his own research and experiments as well as data that he had learned from Greek and Muslim sources.

Ibn al-Baytar collected a number of new medicinal plants which were introduced into pharmaceutical knowledge. It is held that there was not a fruit or vegetable known to horticulture at that time that was not grown in the vicinity of Malaga, his home-town. Dhya Eddin Abu Mohammed Abdallah ben Ahmed al Malaky (from Malaga) (1197-1248) was known as Ibn al Baytar (translated as son of the vet). He is the author of the richest repository of medical natural history amongst Muslims. Ibn-al-Baytar was born in Malaga but travelled in Spain and North Africa as a herbalist and later lived in Cairo as chief herbalist.