Tournefort, Joseph Pitton de
Tournefort, Joseph Pitton de
French botanist (1656-1708)

Catholic Encyclopedia. . 2006.

Tournefort, Joseph Pitton de
     Catholic_Encyclopedia Joseph Pitton de Tournefort
    French botanist, b. at Aix in Provence, 5 June, 1656; d. at Paris, 28 Dec., 1708. After his school-days at a Jesuit college he studied theology at Aix, but in 1677 he turned his attention entirely to botany. He studied medicine at Montpellier and Barcelona. In 1683 he was made a professor and director at the Jardin des Plantes, Paris; he became later a member of the Academy (1692), a doctor of medicine (1698), and professor of medicine at the Collège de France (1702). Tournefort is recognized as a botanical explorer, and as the author of the artificial system of plants named after him. As a youth he travelled repeatedly through western Europe, exploring particularly the region of the Pyrenees. In 1700-2 he visited the Orient, passing through Greece. The account of this journey, "Relation d'un voyage du Levant" (Paris, 1717), appeared after his death; his work is a classic and was translated into English (1741) and German (1776). He collected 1356 species of plants during this one journey.
    Tournefort's system of classifying plants is based on the form of the corolla. Up to about 1750 the system was in high repute, being accepted even by Linnæus, but as research advanced it lost its importance. Of permanent importance are the clear distinction Tournefort makes between genus and species, and the exhaustive analyses of genera which he was the first to draw up and illustrate. Linnæus says of him: "Primus characteres genericos condidit." He expounded his system in his "Eléments de botanique" (3 vols. in 8°, Paris, 1694), containing 451 plates; rewritten in Latin as "Institutiones rei herbariæ" (3 vols., Paris, 1700), with 476 plates (in 1703 a supplement was issued containing thirteen plates; a new edition by Adrien de Jussieu in 1719; English tr., London, 1735, French tr., Lyons, 1797). The "Institutiones" was preceded by a defence of his system which was entitled, "De optima methode instituenda in re herbaria" (Paris, 1697), and by a "Histoire des plantes qui naissent aux environs de Paris" (Paris, 1698), an English translation of which appeared in 1732. A genus with about 120 species, belonging to the family of the Borraginaceæ, was named by Linnæus Tournefortia, and still retains this designation.
    SPRENGEL, Gesch. der Botanik, II (Leipzig, 1818); SACHS, Gesch. der Botanik (Munich, 1875).
    J. H. ROMPEL
    Transcribed by Thomas J. Bress

The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume VIII. — New York: Robert Appleton Company. . 1910.


Catholic encyclopedia.

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  • Tournefort, Joseph Pitton de — (1656 1708)    botanist, traveler    Born in Aix en Provence, Joseph Pitton de Tournefort was professor of botany at the Royal Gardens (later the Museum of Natural History) and was sent on scientific trips through Europe and Asia Minor. His… …   France. A reference guide from Renaissance to the Present

  • Tournefort, Joseph Pitton de — ▪ French botanist and physician born June 5, 1656, Aix en Provence, Fr. died Dec. 28, 1708, Paris       French botanist and physician, a pioneer in systematic botany, whose system of plant classification represented a major advance in his day and …   Universalium

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