‘The Heritage Journey to the Adeline Arboretum’

You will discover in the Arboretum a number of plants whose botanical name refers to famous botanists and discoverers who brought home these plants, often from distant lands. Despite what you might think, these plants were rarely discovered by the persons whose name they bear but more commonly they were named in their honour.
A famous example is that of the genus ‘Magnolia’, which was named by Linné as a tribute to Pierre Magnol for the valuable work he had carried out in the area of nomenclature. With the development of science, the 18th century saw a proliferation of long distance expeditions both to the East and to the United States, allowing the building of increasingly large collections of unknown plants. It was as a tribute to John Stuart (1713/1792), author of the ‘Botanical Tables’, which he donated to the Queen, covering the plant families of Great Britain, that the genus Stuartia (Stewartia) was named after him.

Magnolia wilsonii - Arboretum Adeline ©

Stewartia sinensis - Arboretum Adeline ©
Quercus michauxii makes reference to the French botanist François André Michaux (1746/1802), who described it in Trees of Eastern United States and Canada. Appointed royal botanist by Louis XVI, he sailed for the United States, where he collected, described and named numerous North American species. This large oak, with a silvery bark, bears obovate leaves with undulating edges that assume sumptuous autumnal hues.

Quercus michauxii - Arboretum Adeline ©
Dedicated to the German botanist Joseph Gottlieb Kölreuter (1733/1806), regarded as the father of plant botany and a pioneer of hybridisation, Koelreuteria paniculata is a tree or large shrub that is spectacular for its abundance of yellow flowers in summer in straight yellow tassles, followed by high decorative pink cloves. Its elegant, divided foliage is tinged with pink when it buds and with orangey yellow in autumn.

Thomas Nuttall (1786/1842), an English botanist, botanised in the Great Lake region, Arkansas, Kansas, Utah then on the Pacific coast of the United States. Appointed to the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, he lent his name to numerous plants.

Parrotia persica - Arboretum Adeline ©
Parrotia persica, a plant characteristic of the Caspian Forest with an attractive broad, rugged habit, whose foliage, with marked ribs, blazes in a thousand lights in autumn, was named after Friedrich Wilhelm Parrot, a German naturalist (1791/1841). Its purple flowers on bare wood in winter is particularly unique. There are two cultivars of this plant: Parrotia persica ‘Vanessa’ and Parrotia persica ‘Pendula’. One has a narrower, straighter habit, the other a drooping habit. It was again in the 18th century that an American collector and passionate botanist, John Fottergill, gave his name to two beautiful shrubs. In the 19th century, numerous missionaries sent out by different congregations criss-crossed the Far East. These priests, along with the evangelists, were interested in the local flora, botanising in Manchuria, Mongolia, China, and travelling as far as Tibet They discovered and collected numerous collections of plants, samples of which they sent to the National Museum of Natural History, where they aroused great interest.

The most famous of these was Father Armand David (1826/1900), a Vincentian missionary who, in parallel with his theological studies, developed a solid background as a naturalist. On being sent immediately to Beijing, he travelled China in search of new species and brought together large collections of plants. Numerous plants bear his name in honour of this work.

Acer davidii - Arboretum Adeline ©
Father Emile Bodinier (1842/1901), who botanised in China, mainly in Kouy-chou and Guizhou provinces, gave his name to Criss-crossing China in the company of Father Emile Bodinier, Father Joseph Callery (1810/1862) lent his name to Fathers Jean-Marie Delavayi (1834/1895) and Guillaume Farges (1844/1912), sent to China in 1867, botanised in Yunnan and Sichuan provinces were very forthcoming. They sent numerous very interesting collections to the Natural History Museum and it was in recognition of their exceptional work that they gave their names to several plants. 

Salix fargesii - Arboretum Adeline ©
Osmanthus delavayi - Arboretum Adeline ©

Later on Father François-Lazare Seguin (1868/1942), sent by the Society of Foreign Missions, who botanised in Guizhou province, gave his name to Castanea seguinii.

Castanea seguinii - Arboretum Adeline ©
Dedicated to the Briton Robert Fortune (1812/1880), who allowed the introduction into Europe of numerous eastern species.

Karl Ivanovich Maximowicz (1827/1891), a Russian botanist, travelled with Leopold Ivanovitch von Schrenck to the Amur River region. He then left for China, Korea and especially Japan, where he was assisted by Sukawa Chonosuke, to whom he dedicated Philadelphus schrenkii: Extremely fragrant flowers, formed in terminal clusters emerging from attractively dentate oval leaves, appear in June in a cream white cup.

Betula maximowicziana - Arboretum Adeline ©
In the second half of the 19th century Ernest Henry Wilson (1876/1930), an English botanist, was sent to China to collect new plants by the nurseryman James Veitch. Starting from the west, he decided to stop in the United States at the Arnold Arboretum in the Boston region, where he met Charles Sargent (1841/1927), his supervisor. He first criss-crossed Hubei, then Sichuan provinces. At the beginning of the 20th century he then became collector for the Arnold Arboretum and undertook new expeditions in China, Japan, Korea and Formosa.
Sorbus sargentiana: a magnificent species with its large clusters of small dome-shaped, orange red berries which lie on the foliage consisting of large leaflets tinged with orange in the autumn. Viburnum sargenti: vigorous shrub with attractive trilobite foliage tinted red when budding and bright red in autumn. The white flowers carry red anthers followed by superb bright red translucent fruit.

Viburnum sargentii - Arboretum Adeline ©
The following were dedicated to Georges Forrest (1873/1932), British botanist, and to Augustine Henry (1857/1930), Irish physician and botanist, in appreciation of the many species they introduced from the Far East … Acer davidii ‘George Forrest’ was brought back from Yunnan province in 1922 by G. Forrest and is a variant of A. davidii, from which it differs by its wide, drooping habit, its young red stems and its more lobed leaves.

Acer davidii 'George Forrest' - Arboretum Adeline ©
Alfred Rehder (1863/1949), curator of the Arnold Arboretum, is considered to be one of the fathers of dendrology. Several genera have been named in his honour …. There is no doubt that our gardens would not show the same wealth and diversity if all botany enthusiasts whose names we have just mentioned had not demonstrated such enthusiasm, perseverance, curiosity and courage. We therefore considered it essential that we ourselves paid homage to them, which we have now done.
Gérard and Claudie Adeline

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