Bougainvillea

Today is the birthday of the explorer and botanist Jeanne Baret.
Jeanne was the first woman to have circumnavigated the globe as part of the expedition, which was led by Louis Antoine de Bougainville. 
Beret was able to join the expedition after posing as a valet to the expedition's naturalist: Philibert Commerçon.
Before the expedition, Jeanne had been employed as Commerçon's housekeeper. A few years later, his wife died, and Jeanne took over the management of the household and began a personal relationship with Commerçon.
Commerçon had poor health, and it was likely that he needed Jeanne to join him on the expedition because he needed her assistance.
Jeanne was an excellent botanist in her own right. When the ship stopped in Rio de Janeiro, an old leg injury prevented Commerçon from collecting specimens. Thus, it was Jeanne who ventured out into the tropics and returned with the lovely tropical vine that would be named to honor the expedition's commander: Bougainvillea.
 


This post was featured on
The Daily Gardener podcast:

helping gardeners find their roots,
one story at a time
Jeanne Baret
Jeanne Baret