With so many names to coordinate, it is not surprising that medieval herbals are full of "pseudo-synonyms," or erroneous identifications. This frequent mis-naming, combined with vague or stylized illustrations, has led modern readers to question the usefulness of early herbals. Yet medieval botanists saw species identity as more flexible than we think of it today. In their view, plants could become other kinds of plants with changes in location, age, or modification by humans. Early botanic works take an expansive approach to the idea of "species."
medieval botany, pseudo-synonyms