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VMs: f52r illustration


I'm a medical student from Singapore with a long-standing interest in the VMs. Recently I realized that the root system of the plant featured in f52r resembles an anatomical construct - the arterial circle of Willis. I have uploaded a detail of the roots and the Willis here:


Searching the list archives back till 2002, I found that this is one of the few VMs herbs to resist identification by Dana Scott :) The geometry of f52r is highly similar to this arterial system - a loop with four branches on the inferior surface that resemble human "limbs". This might be a significant clue to the subject matter of f52r.

This system was first described by G Fallopius in 1561, although its size (half the diameter of the brain) suggests that it is possible it may have been discovered prior to that.

A bibliography:
1. Gabriel Fallopius: Observationes anatomicae. Venice 1561. 
2. Giulio Casserio: Tabulae Anatomicae lxxiix. Venetiis, apud E. Deuchinum, 1627.
3. J. J. Wepfer: Observationes anatomicae, ex cadaveribus eorum, quos sustolit apoplexia. Schaffhusii, J. C. Suteri, 1658. 
4. T. Willis: Cerebri anatome: cui accessit nervorum descriptio et usus.
London, 1664. 

Lee Yang Yang
Faculty of Medicine,
National University of Singapore
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