France


It is only fairly recently that the watercolour paintings made on vellum (parchment of calf skin) of the Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle at Paris are being published on a large scale, so this can not be called an 'old publication'. But the paintings themselves are old and very special. For centuries, starting in 1631 under royal patronage, these botanical and zoological drawings formed the collection now numbering about 7000 folios (on a format of 46x33 to 46x28cm). Famous artists contributed to what is called 'Les vélins du muséum', as for botany amongst others Nicolas Robert, Claude Aubriet, Gerard van Spaendonck, Pierre-Joseph Redouté and Pancrace Bessa. The website of the library of the museum gives access to the vélins and 800 plates are included in a monumental book published by the museum in 2016. There are at least 26 bromeliads (including 8 of the pineapple) in the collection, the ones depicted below were painted by Alfred Riocreux (1820-1912), in 1843 Tillandsia streptophylla and in 1855 Pitcairnia recurvata (current names).


Encyclopedias and dictionaries were very popular in the 19th century and the Encyclopédie Méthodique was a vey voluminous one. It was published both in Paris and Liège between 1783 and 1817. The 8 volumes and 5 supplements on botany were mainly edited by Jean Baptiste de Lamarck and Jean Louis Poiret. They were also the authors of Tableau encyclopédique et méthodique des trois règnes de la nature. Botanique in 6 volumes (3 tomes) from 1791-1823; a total of 1000 monochrome engravings were made for this work, bromeliads are on plate 223 (Ananas comosus and Bromelia pinguin) and plate 224 (see image further below with Aechmea serrata and Pitcairnia bromeliifolia). The plates were reissued in 1823 in 4 parts titled Recueil de planches de botanique de l'Encyclopédie.
Part of the drawings for this encyclopedia were made by Pierre Joseph Redouté, who is known for his album Les Liliacées, published in 8 volumes in Paris from 1804-1816. The text for Les Liliacées was written by Alphonse Pyramus de Candolle and among the 486 plates were some bromeliads (Pitcairnias, Bromelias and Ananas). From the last volume and only known from this illustration (Figure 62) is Bromelia redoutei. It has an unknown distribution, even a country is not mentioned. There has been an article in the BSI Journal on this publication (Read 1986).

Several works were published in Paris with the word "herbier" (herbal) in the title. Herbier général de l'amateur was founded by Jean Claude Mordant Delaunay and continued by Jean Louis Loiseleur-Deslongchamps, a physician who turned to botany. The 8 volumes published from 1816-1827 contained 574 coloured engravings, made after drawings by Pancrace Bessa. The work was re-issued by Drapiez in Brussels under the title Herbier d'amateurs de fleurs from 1828-1835. One of the illustrations (Figure 63) is a plant cultivated in 1820 in the glasshouse of mr. Noisette and labeled Pitcairnia discolor or "Pitcairnia green and blue", refering to the colour of the petals. In England, Loddiges had received the same species from the West Indies in 1818 and described it as Tillandsia amoena; Lindley made the new combination Billbergia amoena in 1827. A selection of the plates from Herbier général de l'amateur was also published on a larger format and with hand-coloured engraving of finer quality. Bound in 2 to 4 volumes this was published in Paris in 1836, without the full text, under the name of Flore des jardiniers, amateurs et manufacturiers d'après les dessins de Bessa.

Nouvel herbier de l'amateur, also edited by Loiseleur-Deslongchamps, was published in parts from 1830-1838 with 52 coloured engravings after drawings made by Lucie Deville, an apprentice of Bessa. The only bromeliad among them is Pitcairnia flammea, described under the name of Pitcainia fulgens Noisette (Figure 64). It came from Brazil and flowered in the collection of mr. Noisette in Paris. This species is saxicolous.

Mrs. Deville contributed also, with many other artists, to Herbier général de l'amateur, deuxième serie, published in 6 volumes from 1839-1850 with 464 coloured plates. Volume 1 was edited by Loiseleur-Deslongchamps, volume 2-6 by Charles Antoine Lemaire. In this most drawings from the bromeliads are identical to the ones in L'Horticulteur Universel, journal général des jardiniers et amateurs, a journal edited by Charles Lemaire from 1839-1845, published in 6 volumes with 264 plates. Amongst the 8 bromeliads in L'Horticulteur Universel is one new species: Pitcairnia densiflora (Figure 65). The plant was cultivated in 1854 in the garden of the natural history museum in Paris and in the same year also in Naples (Italy). The collectionsite of this specimen was unknown; it is a terrestrial and saxicolous plant from southern Mexico (Vera Cruz and Guerrero states).

M. Rousselon was the editor of Annales de flore et de pomone, ou journal des jardins et des champs, published in three series from 1832-1848 in Paris. In total there were about 700 coloured plates in this journal, some of bromeliads.

A very long-running journal (1829-1974) was the well-known Revue Horticole ou Journal des jardiniers et amateurs, as the name was in the early years; at a later stage it had become Revue Horticole, Journal d'Horticulture pratique. The history of Revue Horticole is described in an addendum to the French garden magazine Jardins de France (Lejeune 2006). Revue Horticole was founded in Paris by Pierre Antoine Poiteau and Pierre de Vilmorin, editors of the almanac for gardeners Le Bon Jardinier. Among the names of other chief-editors through the years we find J. Decaisne, É.-A. Carrière, Éd. André and D. Bois. Colourplates appeared from 1843-1948, totalling about 2000; I counted 51 bromeliads.The very long list of illustrators is headed by Alfred Riocreux, who made 327 drawings for Revue Horticole between 1852 and 1877. Riocreux can be considered the counterpart in France of Walter Hood Fitch from England, not only as for the productivity but also for the quality of drawing. The most productive of the printers and engravers for Revue Horticole was J.L. Goffart of Brussels in the period 1894-1921 with 443 illustrations; however from 1847-1899, more of interest because that was the time when most of the plates of bromeliads were published in this journal, the company of Lemercier in Paris was the leading supplier with 143 chromolithographs.

In 1868 B. Verlot described as Hechtia pitcairniafolia (Figure 66) a species originating from the coast of southern Chile, growing there on rocks and steep cliffs. It is currently known under the name of Ochagavia litoralis. The plant flowered at mr. Luddemann in Paris. The illustration in Revue Horticole of Portea kermesina (Figure 67) is accompanied by a text that, apart from a short description of this already known species, relates mainly about the justification (in a taxonomical sense) of the genus Portea established by Brongniart and also about the person to which this genus is dedicated: Marius Porte, son of a wealthy merchant in Marseille. From 1834 to 1859 Porte stayed in Brazil and send many plants to Brongniart of the national history museum in Paris. The list of Brazilian plants include the bromeliads Portea kermesina, Billbergia porteana, Billbergia morelii, Hohenbergia stellata, Canistrum aurantiacum and Aechmea miniata (current names). From 1860 to 1865 Porte stayed in the Philippines and Singapore and many plants from Asia were sent by him to Paris. Aechmea spectabilis was a new species, although it was mentioned two years earlier by Éd. Morren, but without a description or illustration. The drawing of the plate in Revue Horticole (Figure 68) is by Riocreux, the lithography by G. Severeyns, made from a plant donated by the collector Lüddemann in 1860. It is a large epiphyte from Colombia and Venezuela, height and length of the leaves are 1 meter. The article with the plate relates that the plant was cultivated by Jean Jules Linden in Belgium, who imported it - very unlikely - from Guatemala. Tillandsia umbellata was also new and collected in 1882 by Hugo Poortman, who traveled in charge of Édouard André. It was found in a forest between the Pacific coast and the Cordillera del Cisne near Lojas in Ecuador. This species is endemic to that region. The plant illustrated (Figure 69) was flowering in the glasshouse of Alfred Mame. The speciesname indicates the way the flowers are arranged in the shape of a parasol. Guzmania andreana was discovered by André near Nariño in the Andes of Colombia where it grows as an epiphyte on large trees at 1200-1800 meter altitude. The plate in Revue Horticole (Figure 70) was made after a plant grown from seed in 1881. Morren had described this species in 1884 in Revue Horticole and named it in honor of André. It was also illustrated in 1888 on plate 7014 in Curtis's Botanical Magazine; that specimen originated from the nursery of mr. Bruant in Poitiers (France).

Like some other bird illustrators the naturalist Jean Théodore Descourtilz (1796-1855) made use of plants for his paintings. Born in France, he was the son of botanist Michel Etienne Descourtilz and lived from 1826 till his death in Brazil where he became a noted ornithological artist. Below are some plates figuring bromeliads, from Oiseaux brillans du Brésil, published in 1834.


Cryptogamist and encyclopedist Charles Dessalines d'Orbigny published from 1841-1849 an encyclopedia of natural history, the Dictionnaire universel d'histoire naturelle comprising 13 volumes with text and 3 atlases with 288 coloured engravings. An updated second edition was printed in 1867-1869. Botanical authors included Adolphe Brongniart, Joseph Decaisne and Charles Lemaire. One atlas was in part on botany with 43 plates of plants. The plate of Aechmea discolor (Figure 71) is the only bromeliad in this work. Charles Morren described this plant in 1846 in Annales de Gand and gives the reasons why it should not be a variety of Aechmea fulgens; not because of the purple underside of the leaves ("color non est character, a dit Linné", as Morren puts it) but for some differences in morphology of the leaves. Adolphe Brongniart, who was the author of Aechmea fulgens, thought otherwise as did later John Gilbert Baker who registered the name as Aechmea fulgens var. discolor in his Handbook of the Bromeliaceae (1889).

In 1836 the French navy organised an expedition with the participation of scientists in the fields of zoology and botany. The corvette "La Bonite" left the harbour of Toulon in February 1836, calling at ports of Rio de Janeiro, Montevideo, Valparaiso, Callao, Paita and Guayaquil before sailing on to the Philippines and India, rounding Cape of Good Hope and via the isle of Saint Helena returning in France at Brest in November 1837. The results of this trip around the world were recorded in text and and figures, for each field of science seperately. The editor of the botanical part was Charles Gaudichaud-Beaupré, a pharmacist with the French navy. His work Voyage autour du monde exécuté pendant les années 1836 et 1837 sur la corvette La Bonite, commandée par M. Vaillant - Botanique was published in Paris; 2 textvolumes in 1846-1851 and an atlas in parts between 1841 and 1852. The botanical atlas had 150 copper engravings which were contrary to the plates in the zoological atlas not in colour. Many of the plates, including 19 of bromeliads, were not described or explained in the textbooks at the time; yet in 1866 this was done in a supplemental volume by Charles d'Alleizette titled Explication et description des planches de l'atlas. Several new species were illustrated in the atlas, but not all could be validated because they belonged to new genera that were not monospecific and thus were invalidly published (Grant & Zijlstra 1998). An example is Chevaliera sphaerocephala (Figure 72), in 1879 described by Baker as Aechmea sphaerocephala in London Journal of Botany. In 1836 Gaudichaud made a collection of the plant, now deposited in the herbarium of the natural history museum of Paris. It is a species endemic to the states of Espírito Santo and Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, with leaves to 3 m. in length, but of relatively short stature with a flowering height of 60 cm. The species name relates to the spherical shape of the inflorescence. In 1989 after 17 years of cultivation a plant flowered for over a year in the Frankfurter Palmengarten (Zizka 1990); flowerbracts are purple and petals blue. This is an endangered species as described in an article in the BSI Journal (de Paula & Guarçoni 2007). Also new was Vriesea recurvata (Figure 73), a species from eastern Brazil, collected by Gaudichaud near Rio de Janeiro.

Etienne Denisse published from 1843-1846 an album of 200 chromolithographed plates without text, made after plants growing in the French Caribbean. It was titled Flore d'Amérique, dessinée d'après nature sur les lieux. Below are two bromeliads.


Claudio (or Claude) Gay was a French botanist and explorer in Chile. His Historia física y política de Chile was published in Paris and Santiago de Chile from 1844-1871 in 28 volumes of text and 2 atlas volumes, covering history, botany and zoology. In the first atlas dated 1854 is a plate of a bromeliad (Botánica, Fanerogamia no.67): Fascicularia bicolor, published as Bromelia bicolor. Most of the 103 botanical drawings were by Riocreux and Gay.


The journal Portefeuille des horticulteurs, journal pratique des jardins was short-lived with only 2 volumes from 1847-1848 published in Paris, but the the plates of 4 bromeliads were of fine quality. It is difficult to connect the name of one person to this journal, on the titlepage some 20 names of botanists and horticulturists are listed as publishers. Two new species in the journal are Billbergia morelii Brongniart and Bromelia vittata Brongniart ex Morel. The name Billbergia moreliana is printed on the plate from 1848 (Figure 74) while Billbergia morelii, the correct form of the name, is used in the description by Brongniart. In La Belgique Horticole in 1861 Édouard Morren reviews the confusion in various magazines concerning Billbergia morelii and Billbergia vittata; the description of one species was sometimes published with an illustration of the other. He also points out that the colours in the plate of Billbergia morelii in Portefeuille des horticulteurs are not accurate; so for comparison the plate illustrating Morren's article is reproduced here too (Figure 75). In 1859 a plate of this species was published with text by Heinrich Witte of Leiden in the Dutch journal with the French name Annales d'horticulture et de botanique ou Flore des jardins du royaume des Pays-Bas (see chapter Netherlands). Witte's plant came from horticulturist J.C. Rodbard of Leiden. Like Morren, Witte writes in detail about the incorrect information and wrong illustrations of this species in some journals. He also cites from a letter by Brongniart, who writes: "The figure in Portefeuille des horticulteurs shows a slightly different variety with dense involucrate lower bracts; but this can hardly be called a variety". The speciesname honors the botanist Morel who received the plant from Marius Porte, the collector of the plant in Bahia in 1847.

Francois Hérincq, botanist and gardener at the Muséum d'Histoire Naturelle in Paris, was the editor of L'Horticulteur français, journal des amateurs et des intérêts horticoles. This journal was published from 1851-1872, illustrated with 414 coloured plates with some bromeliads.

The Journal de la Société Impériale et Centrale d'Horticulture de France was founded in 1827 in Paris (published originally as Annales instead of Journal). A plate in 1864 (Figure 76) shows Hohenbergia erythrostachys, descibed by Brongniart 10 years earlier but turning out to be the same species as Hohenbergia stellata Schultus fil. from 1830. The illustrated plant was collected by Marius Porte in Bahia. This is an epiphytic and terrestrial plant from Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela and northeastern Brazil.
In an article in the BSI Journal by David Barry Jr. (Barry 1968) a fine plate of the cultivar Vriesea Mariae was once reproduced from this French journal. The journal had changed its name by then to Journal de la Société Nationale d'Horticulture de France and still exists under the name Jardins de France as the organ of the French horticultural society.

Édouard André's Bromeliaceae Andreanae - Description et histoire des Bromeliacées récoltées dans la Colombie, l'Ecuador et le Venezuela was published in 1889 in Paris. It was reprinted and translated in English in a version annotated by Michael Rothenberg in 1983. Several times attention has been given in the BSI Journal to this book (Smith 1983, Rauh 1984, Lineham 1995). The 40 plates of bromeliads were made by lithographer G. Severeyns. In the English version and the one copy of the original French publication that I have seen, the plates are not coloured; but Marcel Lecoufle provided a reproduction of plate 10 in colour (Lineham 1995), so it seems the work was printed in different versions. Tillandsia dyeriana (Figure 77) from the dense coastal forests of Ecuador was dedicated by André to Thiselton Dyer, director of the botanical garden at Kew, London.

The last publication from France mentioned here is Atlas des plantes de jardins et d'appartements by Désiré Bois, who was connected to the museum of natural history in Paris and secretary-editor of the national horticultural society of France. The 2 volumes with 320 colourprints and a separate descriptive volume were published in 1896. The plates are neatly arranged by plantfamily, plates 257-260 are bromeliads. This work was also published in English in 4 volumes by E. Step and W. Watson (London, 1896-1897) under the title Favorite flowers of garden and greenhouse.


Literature cited:

Barry Jr., D. (1968). Old descriptions of two perennial favorites. J. Bromeliad Soc. 18(4):83-85.
Grant, J.R. & Zijlstra, G. (1998). An annotated catalogue of the generic names of the Bromeliaceae. Selbyana 19(1):91-121.
Lejeune, D. (2006). La Revue Horticole - petite histoire d'une grande revue française et de ses illustrateurs. Encart de Jardins de France, Revue de la Société Nationale d'Horticulture de France 5-2006.
Lineham, T.U. (1995). A list of the bromeliads collected in 1875-1876 by Éd. André in South America and diagnoses of the new species. J. Bromeliad Soc. 45(1):27-31.
de Paula, C.C. & E.A.O Guarçoni (2007). Aechmea sphaerocephala Baker - a species threatened by local extinction. J. Bromeliad Soc. 57(3):121-123.
Rauh, W. (1984). Book review: Bromeliaceae Andreanae, ed. M. Rothenberg. J. Bromeliad Soc. 34(2):68-69.
Read, R.W. (1986). Icones Bromeliacearum I. J. Bromeliad Soc. 36(3):120-124.
Smith, L.B. (1983). André's bromeliad collecting in Colombia and Ecuador. J. Bromeliad Soc. 33(2):56-65. (reprint of Bulletin 13(5) from 1963).
Zizka, G. (1990). Aechmea sphaerocephala Baker. Der Palmengarten 1990(3):137-140 (excerpt in J. Bromeliad Soc. 41(6):257-259, 1991).



Figure 62. Bromelia redoutei (Baker) Smith. Published as Bromelia karatas var. caulescens Redouté. Drawing P.J. Redouté, engraving De Gouy, Les Liliacées vol.8 plate 457 (1815).
Figure 63. Billbergia amoena (Loddiges) Lindley. Published as Pitcairnia discolor Loiseleur. Drawing P. Bessa, engraving Barrois, Herbier général de l'amateur vol.5 plate 345 (1821).
Figure 64. Pitcairnia flammea Lindley. Published as Pitcairnia fulgens Noisette. Drawing L. Deville, engraving Giraud, Nouvel herbier de l'amateur plate 21 (1838).
Figure 65. Pitcairnia densiflora Brongniart ex Lemaire. Lithography A. Duménit, L'Horticulteur Universel vol.6 page 228 (1845).
Figure 66. Ochagavia litoralis (R.A. Philippi) Zizka, Trumpler & Zoellner. Revue Horticole vol.40 page 211 (1868).
Figure 67. Portea kermesina K. Koch. Drawing A. Riocreux, lithography G. Severeyns, Revue Horticole vol.42 page 230 (1870).
Figure 68. Aechmea spectabilis Brongniart ex Houllet. Drawing A. Riocreux, lithography G. Severeyns, Revue Horticole vol.47 page 311 (1875).
Figure 69. Tillandsia umbellata André. Drawing E. Godard, lithography G. Severeyns, Revue Horticole vol.58 page 60 (1886).
Figure 70. Guzmania andreana (E. Morren) Mez. Published as Caraguata andreana E. Morren. Drawing E. Godard, lithography G. Severeyns, Revue Horticole vol.58 page 276 (1886).
Figure 71. Aechmea fulgens var. discolor (C. Morren) Brongniart ex Baker. Published as Aechmea discolor C. Morren, Dictionnaire universel d'histoire naturel, Botanique monocotylédones plate 4 (1849).
Figure 72. Aechmea sphaerocephala Baker. Published as Chevaliera sphaerocephala Gaudichaud. Drawing Borromée, engraving Francoz, Voyage autour du monde La Bonite plate 61 (1843).
Figure 73. Vriesea recurvata Gaudichaud. Drawing Riocreux, engraving J. Thomas, Voyage autour du monde La Bonite plate 69 (1843).
Figure 74. Billbergia morelii Brongniart. Drawing and lithography Constans, Portefeuille des horticulteurs vol.2 page 97 (1848).
Figure 75. Billbergia morelii Brongniart. Drawing L. Severeyns, lithography G. Severeyns, La Belgique Horticole vol.10 plate 11-12 (1861).
Figure 76. Hohenbergia stellata Schultes fil. Published as Hohenbergia erythrostachys Brongniart. Drawing A. Riocreux, lithography G. Severeyns, Journal de la Société Impériale et Centrale d'Horticulture de France vol.10 plate 18 (1864).
Figure 77. Tillandsa dyeriana André. Drawing E. Bruno, lithography G. Severeyns, Bromeliaceae Andreanae plate 32 (1889).



Above are two paintings with Bromelia pinguin:
Félix-Edouard Guérin-Méneville: Dictionnaire pittoresque d'histoire naturelle vol.1 pl.18, Paris 1834 (l.)
Jean Baptiste Debret: Voyage pittoresque et historique au Brésil vol.1 cah.2 pl.2, Paris 1834 (r.)


"Forêt vierge - Les bords du Parahiba", drawing by Jean Baptiste Debret in Voyage pittoresque et historique au Brésil vol.1 cah.1 pl.1, 1834


"Forêt vierge du Brésil", pen and watercolor on paper by Charles Othon Frédéric Jean Baptiste de Clarac (Count of Clarac), 1819 (Louvre)