Joseph de Tournefort, French botanist

Joseph de Tournefort, French botanist

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Credit: SHEILA TERRY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Joseph Pitton de Tournefort (1656-1708), French botanist. In 1683 de Tournefort became Professor of Botany at the Jardin de Roi, Paris, and collected specimens throughout Europe for the Jardin during 1685-89. By 1689 he was considered the foremost botanist in Europe. He created the modern concept of genus, defining it by diagnosis and making a distinction between the describing and naming of a genus. This taxonomic concept was used by later scientists, including Linnaeus, and most of the 725 genera that de Tournefort recognised are still accepted. In addition de Tournefort was interested in mineralogy, shells and medicine.

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