My current research focuses on Mediterranean 16th-century book herbaria. These collections are of great botanical and historical value. They contain the earliest herbarium records of numerous useful plants. They were the first attempts to represent the plants described by classical authors with actual plants instead of vague descriptions. They also show an emerging interest in plant taxonomy and the discovery of new species. These changes brought by Renaissance scholars created botany as a distinct discipline.
Ancient herbaria, historical collections, history of botany, En Tibi herbarium, Mediterranean flora
I currently work on the Italian En Tibi herbarium, one of the earliest surviving plant collections and the oldest preserved in the Netherlands.
With an international group of researchers we explore the botanical content of the En Tibi herbarium and try to elucidate its mysterious origin. Our multidisciplinary methodology, that combines botany, history, the study of paper and watermark, paleography, literature and forensics, revealed the maker of this magnificent collection and redefined its date and place of origin.
I have also worked on other aspects of the Mediterranean flora, namely the taxonomy, biogeography and essential oils of Lamiaceae in the East Mediterranean (Greece, Turkey), and on plant-pollinator systems and flower structure of vulnerable plants of the Greek flora.
- En Tibi project
- Stefanaki A., Porck H., Grimaldi I.M., Thurn N., Pugliano V., Kardinaal A., Salemink J., Thijsse G., Chavannes-Mazel C., Kwakkel E., van Andel T. Breaking the silence of the 500-year-old smiling garden of everlasting flowers, The En Tibi book herbarium. PLOSONE.
- Stefanaki A., Thijsse, G., van Uffelen G., Eurlings M., van Andel T. 2018. The En Tibi herbarium, a 16th century Italian treasure. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 187: 397-427.
- Stech M., van Andel T., Aptroot A., Bertin A., Stefanaki, A. 2018. Bryophytes and lichens in 16th century herbaria. Journal of Bryology 40: 99-106.
- Stefanaki A., Cook C. M., Lanaras T., Kokkini, S. 2016. The Oregano plants of Chios Island (Greece): Essential oils of Origanum onites L. growing wild in different habitats. Industrial Crops and Products 82: 107-113.
- Stefanaki A., Kantsa A., Tscheulin T., Charitonidou M., Petanidou, T. 2015. Lessons from Red Data Books: Plant vulnerability increases with floral complexity. PLOSONE 10: e0138414.
- Stefanaki A., Kokkini, S. 2015. Phytogeographical affinities at the crossroads of two continents: Distribution patterns of Lamiaceae in Chios Island (East Aegean Islands, Greece) and Çeşme–Karaburun Peninsula (West Anatolia, Turkey). Systematics and Biodiversity 13: 307-325.
I give a lecture about the Lamiaceae family at the Msc course Plant Families of the Tropics