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Exploring Plants with Harry Potter

Exploring Plants with Harry Potter
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The collections of the National Library of Belarus can boast of several herbaria dated 15th – 16th centuries. You can find images of plants that Harry Potter studied in potions lessons in these ancient books.

– Potter! said Snape suddenly. "What would I get if I added powdered root of asphodel to an infusion of wormwood?"

"I don't know, sir," said Harry".

(From "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone")

Participants of artistic research "It's Time to Create a Herbarium!" will know the answer to the question set by the teacher at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. They can look through electronic copies of the herbaria on the Library portal and study plants.

There is an image of asphodel in the "Herbarium", published in 1484. Next to the printed Latin name a handwritten "złotogłów" in Polish is given. A reader made this entry over a hundred years ago. We do not know, who wrote this, but it is reliably known that the book belonged to the Radziwills and was kept in the library of the Nesvizh castle.


You can also find a drawing of wormwood ("artemisia" in Latin). In the "Herbarium", which came out in Mainz in 1484, its engraving was hand-painted in green and yellow next to the seal.


The "Herbarium", published in Venice in 1509, contains 150 engravings of medicinal plants, including an image of wormwood. It will be easy for the research participants to find wormwood and create their own herbarium. It grows in dry meadows, sands, gardens, orchards, near dwellings in the territory of Belarus.


There is a chapter "The Potions Master" in the book by J. K. Rowling "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone", where you can learn a lot of interesting things about magic plants. You can read the book in the National Library in Belarusian, Russian and English.

Watch TV news reports to learn about the artistic research “It's Time to Create a Herbarium”:

Prepared by the Bibliology Research Department as part of the projects "On a Visit to Books" and "Create Culture: Library Innovative Services."


We Will Teach You How to Look up Information

28 Sep 2020

A new academic year begins. The Library provides free group lessons on how to look up information and adapt to the working conditions in our building upon prior request. You can learn how to use a variety of resources of the National Library of Belarus – from a simple search in an electronic catalogue to working with databases and the Internet.

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