Jussieu, Adrien Henri Laurent De

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Jussieu, Adrien Henri Laurent De

(b Paris, France, 23 December 1797; d. Paris, 29 June 1853)


Adrien de Jussieu, the last in a long familial line of botanists, was the son of Antoine-Laurent de Jussieu. As a third-generation botanist he was able to follow his vocation with considerably less initial difficulty than his father and granduncles. He received a thorough classical training and developed a predilection for belles lettres, befriending Prosper Mériméle, Stendhal, and Victor Jacquemont. He turned to both medicine and botany, specializing from the beginning in the latter. His thesis, written in Latin (quite uncharacteristic at the time in France), consisted of a monograph on the Euphorbiaceae (1824), in which he pursued work his father had begun in tracing natural affinities on the basis of morphological relationship with attention to pharmaceutical and chemical detail.

In 1826 Jussieu succeeded his father as professor of botany at the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle and, judging from the number of persons who took his course, his teaching was brilliant; his Botanique. Cours élémentaire d’histoire naturelle went through no fewer than twelve editions between 1842 and 1884. Jussieu’s botanical work, mainly monographic. showed an increasing emphasis on the provision of new characteristics from related fields, especially anatomy and developmental morphology. His main contributions to the general theory of taxonomy were his articles“Taxonomic (végétale)” and “Géographie botanique” in d’Orbigny’s Dictionaire universel des sciences naturelles.

At the Muséum Jussieu, in collaboration with his friend Adolphe Brongniart, built up a large herbarium, which was supplemented, at Jussieu’s death, by the family herbarium. His inestimable library was dispersed at public action.


I. Original Works. Jussieu’s publications include De Euphorbiacearum generibus medicisque earundem viribus tentamen (Paris, 1824); Mémoires sur les Rutacées, ou considération de ce groupe de plantes, suivies de l’exposition des genres qui les composent (Paris, 1825), repr. with independent pagination, from Méemoires du Muséum d’histoire naturelle, 12 (1825), 384-542; Mémoire sur le groupe des Méliacées (Paris,[1832]), repr. from Mémoires du Muséum d’histoire, naturelle 19 (1830), 153-304; Botanique. Cours élémentaire d*rsquo;histoire naturelle à l’usage des colléges (Paris, 1842; 12th ed., 1884); Monographie des Malpighiacées, ou exposition des caractéres de cette famille de plantes, des genres et espéces qui la composent (Paris, 1843), repr. from Archives du Muséum d’histoire naturelle, 3 (1843), 5-151 255-616, pt. 2 with independent pagination; and Taxonomie. Coup d’oeil sur l’histoire et les principes des classifications botaniques (Paris, 1848), repr. from C. d’Orbigny, Dictionnaire universel des sciences naturelles. (Paris, 1841- 1849).

II. Secondary Literature. For information on Jussieu, see J. Decaisne, “Notice historique sur M. Adrien de Jussieu,” in Bulletin Societe botanique de France, 1 (1854), 384-400; A. Lacroix, “Notice historique sur les cinq Jussieu,” in Memories de l’Academie des sciences de l’Institut de France, 2nd ser., 63 (1941), 59-62; and F. A. Stafleu, Taxonomic Literature (Utrecht, 1967), pp. 236-237.

Frans A. Stafleu