Joseph Pitton de Tournefort

Joseph Pitton de Tournefort (5 June 1656 – 28 December 1708) was a French botanist, notable as the first to make a clear definition of the concept of genus for plants. The botanist Charles Plumier had been his pupil and accompanied him on his voyages.

Joseph Pitton de Tournefort
Tournefort Joseph Pitton de 1656-1708
Joseph Pitton de Tournefort
Born5 June 1656
Died28 December 1708 (aged 52)
Alma materUniversity of Paris
Known forgenus
Scientific career
InfluencedCharles Plumier


Travels Tournefort
Tournefort's research journeys

Tournefort was born in Aix-en-Provence and studied at the Jesuit convent there. It was intended that he enter the Church, but the death of his father allowed him to follow his interest in botany.[1] After two years collecting, he studied medicine at Montpellier, but was appointed professor of botany at the Jardin des Plantes in Paris in 1683. During this time he travelled through Western Europe, particularly the Pyrenees, where he made extensive collections.

Between 1700 and 1702 he travelled through the islands of Greece and visited Constantinople, the borders of the Black Sea, Armenia, and Georgia, collecting plants and undertaking other types of observations. He was accompanied by the German botanist Andreas Gundelsheimer (1668–1715) and the artist Claude Aubriet (1651–1742). His description of this journey was published posthumously (Relation d'un voyage du Levant),[1] he himself having been killed by a carriage in Paris; the road on which he died now bears his name (Rue de Tournefort in the 5ème arrondissement).


Tournefort's principal work was the 1694 Eléments de botanique, ou Méthode pour reconnaître les Plantes (the Latin translation of it Institutiones rei herbariae was published twice in 1700 and 1719). The principal artist was Claude Aubriet who later became the principal artist at the Jardin des Plantes. The classification followed was completely artificial, and neglected some important divisions established by earlier botanists, such as John Ray's separation of the phanerogams from the cryptogams, and his division of the flowering plants into monocots and dicots. Overall it was a step backwards in systematics, yet the text was so clearly written and well structured, and contained so much valuable information on individual species, that it became popular amongst botanists, and nearly all classifications published for the next fifty years were based upon it.[2]

Tournefort is often credited with being the first to make a clear distinction between genus and species. Though he did indeed cluster the 7,000 plant species that he described into around 700 genera, this was not particularly original. Concepts of genus and species had been framed as early as the 16th century, and Kaspar Bauhin in particular consistently distinguished genera and species. Augustus Quirinus Rivinus had even advocated the use of binary nomenclature shortly before Tournefort's work was published.[2]

The word "herbarium" also seems to have been an invention of Tournefort; previously herbaria had been called by a variety of names, such as Hortus siccus.

His herbarium collection of 6,963 specimens was housed in Paris, in Jardin du Roi. Now part of the Muséum national d'histoire naturelle.[3]

List of selected publications

  • Tournefort, Joseph Pitton de (1694). Éléments de botanique ou methode pour connaître les plantes (Élémens de botanique ou methode pour connoître les plantes) (in French). Paris: Imprimerie Royale., trans. as
  • Histoire des plantes qui naissent aux environs de Paris, 1698
  • Relation d'un voyage du Levant, 1717
  • Traité de la matière médicale, 1717

See also


  1. ^ a b Chisholm 1911.
  2. ^ a b Sachs, Julius von; Garnsey, Henry E. F. (translator); Balfour, Isaac Bayley (editor) (1890). History of Botany (1530–1860) . Oxford at the Clarendon Press. pp. 76–78.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link) CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  3. ^ "Herbarium J.P. de Tournefort (1656–1708)". Retrieved 29 September 2014.


External links

Media related to Joseph Pitton de Tournefort at Wikimedia Commons

1708 in France

Events from the year 1708 in France.


Agrimonia (from the Greek ἀργεμώνη), commonly known as agrimony, is a genus of 12–15 species of perennial herbaceous flowering plants in the family Rosaceae, native to the temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere, with one species also in Africa. The species grow to between .5–2 m (1.6–6.6 ft) tall, with interrupted pinnate leaves, and tiny yellow flowers borne on a single (usually unbranched) spike.

Agrimonia species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including grizzled skipper (recorded on A. eupatoria) and large grizzled skipper.

Andreas von Gundelsheimer

Andreas von Gundelsheimer (ca. 1668 – 17 June 1715) was a German physician and botanist born in Feuchtwangen.

He obtained his medical doctorate in Altdorf bei Nürnberg, afterwards spending several years working in Venice. Later in Paris he made the acquaintanceship of botanist Joseph Pitton de Tournefort (1656-1708). In 1700-02 with Tournefort and painter Claude Aubriet (1665-1742), he journeyed to Asia Minor and Armenia on a research expedition. His large collection of plants gathered from the expedition were sent to herbaria in Berlin and Munich.

In 1703 he settled in Berlin, where he subsequently became a physician to Prussian royalty. He died on 17 June 1715, while accompanying King Friedrich Wilhelm I to Stettin.

Asteriscus (plant)

Asteriscus is a genus of flowering plants in the family Asteraceae.

SpeciesThe genus is native to Europe, North Africa, Macaronesia, and the Middle East.

Asteriscus aquaticus (L.) Less. - Mediterranean, Canary Islands

Asteriscus daltonii (Webb) Walp. - Cape Verde

Asteriscus graveolens (Forssk.) Less. - North Africa, Middle East, Canary Islands

Asteriscus imbricatus (Cav.) DC. - Morocco

Asteriscus intermedius (DC.) Pit. & Proust - Canary Islands

Asteriscus pinifolius Maire & Wilczek - Morocco

Asteriscus schultzii (Bolle) Pit. & Proust - Western Sahara, Morocco, Canary Islands

Asteriscus sericeus (L.f.) DC. - Canary Islands

Asteriscus smithii (Webb) Walp. - Cape Verdeformerly includedseveral species transferred to Pallenis or Rhanterium, most notably

Asteriscus maritimus (L.) Less., Synonym of Pallenis maritima (L.) Greuter


Bignonia is a genus of flowering plants in the catalpa family, Bignoniaceae. Its genus and family were named after Jean-Paul Bignon by his protégé Joseph Pitton de Tournefort in 1694, and the genus was established as part of modern botanical nomenclature in 1753 by Carl Linnaeus.

Chelidonium majus

Chelidonium majus, (commonly known as greater celandine, nipplewort, swallowwort, or tetterwort, which also refers to Sanguinaria canadensis) is a herbaceous perennial plant, one of two species in the genus Chelidonium. It is native to Europe and western Asia and introduced widely in North America. In Devon it is also known as St John's wort.While the greater celandine belongs to the poppy family, the lesser celandine belongs to the buttercup family.


The genus Circaea contains 7–10 species of flowering plants, known as enchanter's nightshade, in the willowherb family, Onagraceae. They are woodland plants occurring throughout the temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere. Two species are widespread, Broad-leaved Enchanter's Nightshade (Circaea lutetiana) and Alpine Enchanter's Nightshade (Circaea alpina). In addition, there is an intermediate hybrid between these two, and several local species or subspecies, with between eight and 14 forms recognised by different authorities. The hybrid is sterile, persisting only by vegetative reproduction and not producing seeds.

Plants in this genus disperse their seeds by producing burrs that adhere to clothing, fur and feathers.

Circaea is in the family Onagraceae, which also includes willowherbs, evening primroses and fuchsias.

The genus is named after the enchantress Circe from Greek mythology, who is supposed to have used enchanter's nightshade in her magic. Enchanter's nightshade is not related to the nightshade family that includes deadly nightshade and the genus Solanum (the Solanaceae). Molecular evidence indicates the closest relative to Circaea is the lineage that gave rise to the genus Fuchsia, which diverged from it around 41 million years ago.

SpeciesCircaea alpina (Alpine enchanter's-nightshade)

C. alpina subsp. alpina

C. alpina subsp. angustifolia

C. alpina subsp. caulescens

C. alpina subsp. imaicola

C. alpina subsp. micrantha

C. alpina subsp. pacifica

Circaea cordata

Circaea erubescens

Circaea glabrescens

Circaea lutetiana (Enchanter's-nightshade)

C. lutetiana subsp. canadensis

C. lutetiana subsp. quadrisulcata

Circaea mollis

Circaea repensHybridsCircaea × intermedia (C. alpina × C. lutetiana) (Upland enchanter's-nightshade)

Claude Joseph Geoffroy

Claude Joseph Geoffroy (8 August 1685, Paris – 9 March 1752, Paris) was the brother of Étienne François Geoffroy. Like his brother, he was an apothecary and chemist. Having a considerable knowledge of botany, he devoted himself especially to the study of the essential oils in plants.

The son of Matthieu François Geoffroy and Louise Devaux, he was born in Paris on 8 August 1685. In 1703 he became a master apothecary, and in 1704/05 took scientific excursions throughout southern France. He then studied botany under Joseph Pitton de Tournefort (1707). In 1708, following the death of his father, he took charge of the family pharmacy. In May 1711 he was elected a member of the Académie Royale des Sciences (botany section), subsequently transferring to the "chemistry section" in 1715. From 1718 to 1720 he was Garde des marchands-apothicaires in Paris, then later served as inspecteur de pharmacie at the Hôtel-Dieu. In 1731 he attained the title of alderman in Paris.From 1707 to 1751, he published numerous articles in the Histoire et Mémoires de l'Académie royale des sciences.He is known as Geoffroy the Younger to distinguish him from his brother, Geoffroy the Elder (1672–1731). However, this leads to confusion with his son, Claude François Geoffroy (1729–1753), who is known as "Claude Geoffroy the Younger".

Cotyledon (genus)

Cotyledon is a genus of succulent plants in the Crassulaceae family. Mostly from Southern Africa, they also occur throughout the drier parts of Africa as far north as the Arabian peninsula.


Crataegus (), commonly called hawthorn, quickthorn, thornapple, May-tree, whitethorn, or hawberry, is a genus of several hundred species of shrubs and trees in the family Rosaceae, native to temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere in Europe, Asia and North America. The name "hawthorn" was originally applied to the species native to northern Europe, especially the common hawthorn C. monogyna, and the unmodified name is often so used in Britain and Ireland. The name is now also applied to the entire genus and to the related Asian genus Rhaphiolepis.

Francesco Cupani

Francesco Cupani ( 21 January 1657, Mirto – 19 January 1710, Palermo )

was an Italian naturalist mainly interested in botany.

In 1692 he became the first Director of the botanic garden at Misilmeri. Here the plants were classified a system taxonomy of binomial nomenclature later made standard by Carl Linnaeus. This work put him in contact with many botanists,for instance Joseph Pitton de Tournefort, Caspar Commelin, William Sherard, James Petiver, Johann Georg Volckamer, Felice Viali (1638–1722) and Giovanni Battista Triumfetti.


A genus (, pl. genera ) is a taxonomic rank used in the biological classification of living and fossil organisms, as well as viruses, in biology. In the hierarchy of biological classification, genus comes above species and below family. In binomial nomenclature, the genus name forms the first part of the binomial species name for each species within the genus.

E.g. Panthera leo (lion) and Panthera onca (jaguar) are two species within the genus Panthera. Panthera is a genus within the family Felidae.The composition of a genus is determined by a taxonomist. The standards for genus classification are not strictly codified, so different authorities often produce different classifications for genera. There are some general practices used, however, including the idea that a newly defined genus should fulfill these three criteria to be descriptively useful:

monophyly – all descendants of an ancestral taxon are grouped together (i.e. phylogenetic analysis should clearly demonstrate both monophyly and validity as a separate lineage).

reasonable compactness – a genus should not be expanded needlessly; and

distinctness – with respect to evolutionarily relevant criteria, i.e. ecology, morphology, or biogeography; DNA sequences are a consequence rather than a condition of diverging evolutionary lineages except in cases where they directly inhibit gene flow (e.g. postzygotic barriers).Moreover, genera should be composed of phylogenetic units of the same kind as other (analogous) genera.

Hyacinth (plant)

Hyacinthus is a small genus of bulbous, fragrant flowering plants in the family Asparagaceae, subfamily Scilloideae. These are commonly called hyacinths . The genus is native to the eastern Mediterranean (from the south of Turkey through to northern part of the region of Palestine).Several species of Brodiea, Scilla, and other plants that were formerly classified in the lily family and have flower clusters borne along the stalk also have common names with the word "hyacinth" in them. Hyacinths should also not be confused with the genus Muscari, which are commonly known as grape hyacinths.


Orchis is a genus in the orchid family (Orchidaceae), occurring mainly in Europe and Northwest Africa, and ranging as far as Tibet, Mongolia, and Xinjiang. The name is from the Ancient Greek ὄρχις orchis, meaning "testicle", from the appearance of the paired subterranean tuberoids.

Periploca (plant)

Periploca is a genus of plants in the Apocynaceae family, first described for modern science by Linnaeus in 1753. It is native to Europe, Asia, and Africa.

SpeciesPeriploca aphylla Decne. - Middle East from Sinai to Pakistan

Periploca calophylla (Wight) Falc. - S China, Nepal, Bhutan, Assam, E Himalayas, Vietnam

Periploca chevalieri Browicz - Cape Verde Islands

Periploca chrysantha D.S. Yao, X.D. Chen & J.W. Ren - Gansu Province in China

Periploca floribunda Tsiang - Yunnan, Vietnam

Periploca forrestii Schltr. - Guangxi, Guizhou, Qinghai, Sichuan, Tibet, Yunnan, India, Kashmir, Myanmar, Nepal

Periploca graeca L. - Mediterranean

Periploca hydaspidis Falc. - Kashmir

Periploca laevigata Aiton - Canary Islands, Savage Islands

Periploca linearifolia Quart.-Dill. & A. Rich - Ethiopia

Periploca nigrescens Afzel. - W Africa

Periploca refractifolia Gilli - Tanzania

Periploca sepium Bunge - widespread across much of China

Periploca tsiangii D. Fang & H.Z. Ling - Guangxi Province in China

Periploca visciformis (Vatke) K. Schum. - Somaliaformerly included

Sébastien Vaillant

Sébastien Vaillant (26 May 1669 – 20 May 1722) was a French botanist.

Vaillant was born at Vigny in present-day Val d'Oise. He studied medicine at Pontoise, and then moved to Paris to practice as a surgeon, where he studied botany at the Jardin des Plantes under Joseph Pitton de Tournefort.

Vaillant was appointed to the staff of the Jardin des Plantes in 1702, becoming sub-demonstrator of plants in 1708. In his inaugural lecture, Vaillant discussed the reproduction of plants and floral organ function by making analogies with animal reproduction.

Fagon obtained permission from Louis XIV to build a drug cabinet in the Jardin du Roi, Charge the load and provide care.

In 1714, he obtained permission to build a greenhouse to cultivate succulents, and a second in 1717. He introduced the use of greenhouses into France.

In 1716, Vail entered the Academy of Sciences.

He became ill and too poor to publish his 'Botanicon parisiensis' (alphabetically or Enumeration of plants that grow in and around Paris) illustrated by Claude Aubriet, a fruit of 36 years of work; he left his work at Herman Boerhaave (1668–1738). This engraved illustrations and published in 1727. It is a work of particular importance in the history of botany and one of the first to describe the flora known. Vaillant introduces the terms of stamen, ovary and egg in their current direction.

All his life, Vaillant opposed the theses of Tournefort; for this he was dedicated, however, a genus Valantia, as Carl von Linné (1707–1778) later changed in Vaillantia (family Rubiaceae). His herbarium is now kept at the National Museum of Natural History.

The standard botanical author abbreviation Vaill. is applied to species he described.


Thalictrum ( ) is a genus of 120-200 species of herbaceous perennial flowering plants in the Ranunculaceae (buttercup) family native mostly to temperate regions. Meadow-rue is a common name for plants in this genus.Thalictrum is a taxonomically difficult genus with poorly understood species boundaries; it is in need of further taxonomic and field research for clarification.

Despite their common name of "meadow-rue", Thalictrum species are not closely related to the true rue (family Rutaceae), but resemble its members in having compound leaves twice or thrice divided.


Tordylium is a genus of flowering plants in the carrot family (Apiaceae). Members of the genus are known as hartworts.


Tournefortia, commonly known as soldierbush, is a genus of flowering plants in the borage family, Boraginaceae.

It was first published under the name Pittonia by Charles Plumier in 1703, in honour of Joseph Pitton de Tournefort. Later, Carl Linnaeus changed the name to Tournefortia, on the grounds that Tournefort was virtually unknown by his family name outside France.


This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.