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Maria Sibylla Merian (1647-1717)

Sweet Potato plant and Parakeet Flower with a Leaf-Footed Bug, Melonworm Moth and Pickleworm Moth 1702-03

RCIN 921198

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Merian was critical of the Dutch settlers’ concentration on sugar plantations to the neglect of other crops, and she identified a number of plants that would flourish in Surinam if they were cultivated. She described the taste of the sweet potato as ‘very like that of chestnuts’, and noted that they ‘grow and increase so fast that in a short time one single root can produce a whole field full of them’.