Biography of Juan de Castañeda (s. XV-XVI)

Doctor and Spanish naturalist of the date and place of birth and death are unknown, and who practiced his profession in transit from the 16th to the 17TH.

Castaneda was a correspondent from Carolus ClusiusSeville, after the death of Simón de Tovar and Benito Arias Montano. The existing news about his biography are very scarce and come almost exclusively from the fourteen letters he/she wrote to Clusius since September 1600 until January 1604. Thanks to them, referred to his close connection with the flamingos who lived in Seville and its area, since it was your hospital doctor, was married to a woman of Flemish origin (whose Uncle resided in Sanlúcar de Barrameda) and had as a contributor to a Flemish apothecary. It had a garden in which cultivated Peninsular and exotic plants, but it was not a naturalist of the stature of Tovar. Clusius was speaking to him when died, since in his first letter Castaneda says that "VM has been agreed from me, for I am so server of our illustrious Dr Tovar times".

The contribution of Castañeda was different from the Tovar, since it mainly consisted of a large shipment of materials and news. In 1600 referred it four species that Clusius had asked, two of which were American: the Jacobean Indian "roxa flower narcissus" (Sprekelia formosissima Herb) and the "Tuna black, on which the cochineal is caught" (Nopalea cochenillifera (l.)) Salm-Dyck.). Since then, along with seeds, roots, bulbs and live plants, sent lists, news, and pictures. He/She sought to even complete data for their publications. To receive, for example, the copy of Rariorum plantarum history (1601) referred by Clusius whose "Departamento" includes, based on materials of Tovar, the engraving of a "Coral arboris ramulus" in which sheets, are only represented Castaneda told him that "the coral tree leaf is very natural [but] the flower, which is referred to as similarity of Coral", VM is not us "." Therefore he/she sent her petals and made arrangements for an artist who was patient drew the flower his Flemish hospital.

However, what best reflects the contribution of Castañeda is the number of plants of the new world which provided news or materials, 40 of which have been able to be identified. Although many were already known, the new include the Verbena (Aloysia citriodora Ort.) varieties sweet Capsicum species and its use in the form of paprika. To this could be added concerning "Miltomates as hearts" (Physalis spp.) and the "Havana zapotillo" (Trichilia havanensis Jac). Clusius used information of Castaneda in the latest publications of his life.



Clarorum Hispaniensium atque exteriorum epistolae cum notis et preafatione. (Caaesaraugustae; Ex Typographia Regia, 1793, pp. (53-69). This publication includes letters of Castañeda Clusius, which were edited by Ignacio Jordán de Asso,


Alvarez LOPEZ, e. "The plants of America at the 16th-century European botanical", in Revista de Indias, vol. 6 (1949, pp. 139-149).HUNGER, F. w. T. Escluse Charles (Carolus Clusius) Nederlandsch Kruidkunge (1526-1609), 2 vols. (Gravenhage; M. Nijhoff, 1927-1942).LÓPEZ PIÑERO, J. M. and LOPEZ TERRADA, M. L. The Spanish influence in the introduction in Europe of the American plants (1493-1623). (Valencia; Institute of documentary studies and historical science, 1997).

J. M. L. P.