The Poetic Botanist

It’s the birthday of Francis Hallé born today on April 15, 1938.

Hallé is a French botanist and biologist and his specialty is tropical rainforests and tree architecture. Atlas Obscura wrote an article about Halle called, "The Botanist Who Made Fantastical Sketches of Rain Forest Flora”. It’s true. Halle’s work in his book, “The Atlas of Poetic Botany” is otherworldly - possessing an almost Seussical charm.

Of equatorial forests, Hallé says they are full of magical allure and little marvels.

Check out this passage from Francis Hallé in the Atlas Obscura piece:

"On Robinson Crusoe Island, part of an archipelago off the coast of Chile, he found Gunnera peltata, which looks like a rhubarb plant so enormous that it dwarfs whoever stands below its wide, veined leaves. Analyzing it was a thrilling challenge. “Normally, a scalpel is used for dissecting plants,” Hallé writes. “This time, I had to wield a meat cleaver!” A photo would convey the size and the “nest of ruby-red fibers,” but the author eschews snapshots. “I cannot think of a better way to present it than with a drawing.”

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Francis Hallé photo by David Richard
Francis Hallé photo by David Richard
Francis Hallé
Francis Hallé

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