Above: Two details from a tapestry-woven praetexta (Germany, Cologne, about 1450-75) currently on display at The Cloisters. The??flower shown at the center??of the detail on the??left is a fantasy.??The detail on the??right??shows a botanically unmistakable lily;?? a strawberry, embellished with a fanciful??and botanically incorrect??element at the??bottom of the fruit,??appears just below and to the left of the lily.?? See the full image.
A plant in a medieval work of art need not be naturalistically depicted to be recognizable. Even a very stylized representation may have characteristics so distinctive that it can be given a botanical identity with complete confidence. Read more »