Antoine Laurent de Jussieu

The Palace Gardener

Today is the anniversary of the death of Antoine Laurent de Jussieu, who died on this day in 1836.

He was a French botanist who developed the first natural classification of flowering plants.
Today, there's a metro station near the botanical garden in Paris that is named in honor of the Jussieu family - which boasted five members over several generations as notable botanists. The two oldest Jussieu brothers, Antoine and Bernard, were both botany professors in Paris. Bernard was the stronger botanist of the two brothers. Once, after botanizing in Lebanon, Bernard shared his water with the little Lebanon Cedar seedling he was bringing back to Paris. The seedling lived to be over 200 years old and eighty feet high.

As for Bernard Jussieu, he began organizing the garden at Versailles in more natural order, but he wouldn't tell others his method for organizing plants. Antoine-Laurent de Jussieu was Antoine's son and Bernard's nephew. When he came of age, he trained under his uncle for four years, and Bernard recognized in Antoine-Laurent the person with whom he could trust his work. As a result, Antoine-Laurent began his work as an extension of his Uncle Bernard's ideas around grouping plants.

It took Jussieu almost 20 years of refinement and perfecting, but he finally published his work on natural classification as the Bastille was falling in 1789. In Genera Plantarum, Antoine-LaurentJussieu kept Linnaeus' binomial nomenclature, but he grouped plants by genera and then into families. He called his system natural and strived to let nature be his guide. Today, many plant families can be attributed to Jussieu.


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Antoine Laurent de Jussieu
Antoine Laurent de Jussieu

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