Al-Dinawari Advances Botany
Abu Hanifa al-Dinawari (d.895 A.D) lived in Andalusia, Muslim Spain. His work has been made known by the German scholar: Silberberg in a thesis in Breslau in 1908, which contains the descriptions of about 400 plants. However, what is described by Silberberg is just a little part of what has survived; just two volumes out of the six.
In his expose on the earth, Al-Dinawari describes a variety of soils, explaining which is good for planting, its properties and qualities. Al-Dinawari also describes plant evolution from its birth to its death, including the phases of growth and production of flower and fruit. He then covers various crops including: cereals, vineyards and date palms. Relying on his predecessors, he also explains trees, mountains, plains, deserts, aromatic plants, woods, plants used in dyes, honey, bees, etc.
Al-Dinawari also devoted one chapter to the classification of plants (tajnis al-nabat) which he mentions in one of the volumes that have survived, but the work itself on the subject has also been lost. Al-Dinawari's Book of plants also covers various other subjects such as astronomy and meteorology.
by: Dr. Salah Zaimeche, BA, MA, PhD, Mon 30 July, 2001