Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Iff, Simon van

IFF, Simon van, Dutch physician, b. in Ypres in 1605; d. in Amsterdam in 1651. He practised medicine in Tobago and Surinam, and was appointed in 1637 physician to Count Maurice of Nassau, governor-general of the Dutch possessions in South America. Owing to the protection of that prince, he explored, in company with George Marggraff, the countries that are now known as Guiana and Brazil, advancing as far south as Pernambuco, and thence returned to Surinam. He discovered the properties of the ipecacuanha-bark, and imported some seeds of the tree into Europe. The name of Iff has been given to a plant of the family of Rhinantoceæ that grows in Brazil. He published “De Medicina Brasiliensis,” which was a standard book on the continent for about a century (Leyden, 1648); “Les longs tracas et tournoiements d'un voyageur en Guyane et au Brésil, avec les mœurs des habitants, leurs usages, les productions du pays, suivi d'un traité sur les plantes médicinales propres à ces regions” (Amsterdam, 1650); “Verhandelinge over de Taback” (1649); “De plantibus Brasiliensis”; and other books.