From Paris to The Americas
It was on this day, in 1812, the botanist Karl Theodor Hartweg was born.
He'd started out in Paris, working for the botanical garden there, and then ended up going to the Chiswick garden in London. He was eager to travel and go on expeditions. He was sent to the Americas for the first time in 1836.
He was supposed to be there for a three year project, but you know how plans go astray...
He ended up being there're seven years.
During Hartweg's time, native plants from Mexico, like dahlias and cacti, were all the rage. Hartweg's particular specialty was orchids.
According to Merle Reinkka, the author of A History of the Orchid, Hartweg collected,
"The most variable and comprehensive collection of New World Orchids made by a single individual in the first half of the [19th] century."
During his time in America, Vera Cruz (Mexico) became something of a mecca for Plant Explorers. Hartweg once commented ,
“All the way from London just to look after weeds.”