An Account of a Selection of Plants of America


The first world-renowned natural scientist to set foot on Colombian soil was the Dutch physician and botanist Baron Nikolaus Joseph Jacquin (1727–1817). As a young man he showed such ability in his studies in Vienna that he attracted royal patronage. Emperor Francis I commissioned him to travel to the Americas for the purpose of collecting rare and exotic plants for the imperial parks of Vienna and Schönbrunn Palace. This tour occupied him from 1755 to 1759. Jacquin was the first person to show the world the botanical treasures of the New World, classifying them by the Linnaean system of taxonomy. In his famous work Selectarum Stirpium Americanarum Historia (An account of a selection of plants of America) he described botanical plants native to Martinique, Cuba, Jamaica, Santo Domingo, and the Caribbean littoral regions of Cartagena. The work was originally published in 1763. Presented here is a later edition from about 1780, which is much rarer, and which includes 81 more illustrations that are hand painted rather than copperplate engravings. These illustrations are attributed to Ferdinand Bauer (1760–1826), who also painted the frontispiece.

Last updated: February 12, 2016