Jardin du Roi

Jardin du Roi

The Jardin du Roi engaged a vast network of botanists and collectors. Under its auspices, naturalists visited far-off locations to collect, and they shared specimens, illustrations, and descriptions with their colleagues. The Jardin was established as a medical garden in 1626 by King Louis XIII’s physician. An array of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century French botanists (including Georges Cuvier, Jean Baptiste de Lamarck, Joseph Pitton de Tournefort, Sébastien Vaillant, Antoine de Jussieu, Bernard de Jussieu, and Antoine Laurent de Jussieu) secured the reputation of the Jardin du Roi as France’s most important botanical garden. Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon (1707–1788), served as the director for most of the eighteenth century, expanding the gardens and its collections to include new botanical and zoological specimens and illustrations from expeditions around the world. For Leclerc's role in Dombey Affair, see the entry in Botanical Personalities.

With the French Revolution, the Jardin du Roi was renamed and remodeled as the Jardin des Plantes of the Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle. The Jardin des Plantes contained the King’s natural history cabinet—reorganized into a museum collection open to the public—and botanical garden. It employed professors in botany, mineralogy, and zoology to teach courses, making it not just a scientific but also a teaching institution.

 


Petersen, Ronald H. New World Botany: Columbus to Darwin. Ruggell [Liechtenstein]: A. R. G. Gantner Verlag, 2001.

 
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