Matthias de l'Obel

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Mathieu de Lobel

Also Known As: "Matthaeus Lobelius"
Birthplace: Lille, Nord, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France
Death: March 23, 1616 (77-78)
Immediate Family:

Son of Jean de Lobel and Mrs-Jean Jean De LOBEL
Husband of Isabeau Lobel
Father of James DeLobel or Lobel and Hugh DeLobel or Lobel
Brother of Regnault DeLobel

Managed by: Erin Ishimoticha
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About Matthias de l'Obel

Matthias de l'Obel, Matthias de Lobel or Matthaeus Lobelius


Born in Lille, France,


physician to William the Silent, Prince of Orange, before moving to England and becoming James I's physician and botanist.

Father: Jean de Lobel born (c1538 Lille, France) lawyer Children -

Mother: not known

Marriage: Isabeau Laigniez (1576-1642) in Lille 1596

Daughter: Mary Lobel who married James Cole in England and went to the USA


In 1565 he began his studies at the University of Montpellier in southern France with the renowned physician and naturalist, Guillaume Rondolet. There he met fellow student Pierre Pena. Having a common interest in botany, L'Obel and Pena became friends and went on botanical expeditions together. Following Rondolet's death in 1566, L'Obel and Pena left the university and arrived in England in 1569 with their collections of plants. They traveled throughout the British Isles collecting native plants and, in 1570, published the herbal, Stirpium Adversaria Nova.

He is credited with the first attempt to classify plants according to their natural affinities, rather than their medical uses. His Stirpium adversaria nova (1570; written in collaboration with Pierre Pena) was a milestone in modern botany. It argued that botany and medicine must be based on thorough, exact observation.

After the publication of Stirpium Adversaria Nova, Pena returned to the Continent, pursued a career in medicine, and became a successful physician. L'Obel remained in England for a time. By 1574 he was in Antwerp practicing medicine and working on his next book, the companion volume to Stirpium Adversaria Nova. Titled Stirpium Observationes, it would be profusely illustrated.

L'Obel stayed in Antwerp and was the physician to William the Silent, until the latter's assassination in 1584. L'Obel then returned to England where he remained for the rest of his life.

He spent his final years supervising the gardens of Edward la Zouche, 11th Baron Zouche. Died in Highgate, London.

The plant genus Lobelia and the botanical family Lobeliaceae are named after him.'Obel

Mathias de l'Obel, Mathias de Lobel or Matthaeus Lobelius (1538 – 3 March 1616) was a Flemish physician and botanist who was born in Lille, Flanders, in what is now Nord-Pas de Calais, France, and died at Highgate, London, England. Graduating in medicine from the University of Montpellier in 1565 he practiced medicine in the low countries and England, including positions as personal physicians to two monarchs. A member of the sixteenth century Flemish School of Botany, he wrote a series of major treatises on plants in both Latin and Dutch. He was the first botanist to appreciate the distinction between monocotyledons and dicotyledons. The Lobelia plant is named after him.

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Matthias de l'Obel's Timeline

Lille, Nord, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France
London, Middlesex, England
London, Middlesex, England
March 23, 1616
Age 78
Botanist and physician