June 22, 2014

Présence de Charles Flahault

Curiously, one of the most important French scientists, Charles Flahault (1852-1935), whose work is essential to modern Botany and Plant Ecology, has been little studied so far. One can find good chapters about his work in general histories of Ecology, like those written by Donald Worster, Pascal Acot, Jean-Marc Drouin, Jean-Paul Deléage, and Patrick Matagne, but not an intellectual biography or an extensive analyses of his work and papers.

In order to fill this gap, Marie-France Flahault is colleting documents and researching about her second cousin for 15 years. She is the president of the Association "Présence de Charles Flahault", which has organized an exhibition in many cities and promoted the documentary "Aigoual, la forêt retrouvée" (Marc Khanne, 2007) about the partnership of Georges Fabre and Charles Flahault for reforestation of 16,000 hectares in northern Montpellier (nowadays in Cévennes National Park).

The exhibition "Flahault, grandeur Nature" will be released in Mont Aigoual, France, next July 4, 2014.

To know more about Charles Flahault and the Association "Présence de Charles Flahault", we suggest the following links:

"Herborisations en zigzag: journal d'un botaniste - Suède-Laponie (1879)/Région méditerranéenne (1887-1896)" (documents réunis et présentés par J.-M. Emberger)
Photothèque Flahault (developed by the University of Montpellier 2)
À la recherche des écrits de Flahault (Tela Botanica)
Testimony of Marie-France Flahault on the exhibition (WebTV UM2)

We thank to Marie-France Flahault for her kindness and the cooperation with our research on Jacques Huber, who was a student and worked with Charles Flahault from 1890 to 1893.

June 20, 2014

Jardin des Plantes de Montpellier, France

Following the steps of Jacques Huber, we visited the Jardin des Plantes in Montpellier, southern France, in early June. Huber lived in Montpellier from 1890 to 1893, where he attended classes at the local university. He witnessed the foundation of the Institute of Botany by Charles Flahault (1852-1935) in 1890, and later worked as his research assistant. The Institute of Botany was built next to the Jardin des Plantes and since then have shared its space. Huber left Montpellier after finishing his Doctoral Thesis in 1893. He moved to Geneva, Switzerland, in the same year.

The 'Jardin du Roy' was founded by Pierre Richer de Belleval (c. 1564-1632) in 1593 to serve the education of physicians and pharmacists. It is still possible to appreciate the ruins of that first garden, one of the oldest in Europe (please, see the pictures bellow). The garden keeps a great collection of plants, especially from the Mediterranean region. Currently, the garden is still maintained by the Faculty of Medicine, University of Montpellier I in association with the city of Montpellier.

To know more about the Jardin des Plantes and the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Montpellier 2, to which the Institute of Botany is now linked, we suggest the following books:

ROSSI, Michel (Ed.), 2013. De la médicine à la botanique: le Jardin des Plantes de Montpellier. Versailles, Éditions Quae. (twelve chapters by different authors, with excellent pictures of Jonathan Lhoir).

GOMEL, Luc (Ed.), 2014. De la faculté des sciences à l'Université Montpellier 2: les sciences et techniques en mouvement. Montpellier, UM2. (written by Noémie Aumasson-Miralles, Flore César and Nicolas Chevassus-au-Louis).




Huge diversity of forms, colours, textures, and perfumes: 
the Jardin des Plantes de Montpellier in spring!