AFRICAN

ORCHIDS

Louis-Marie Aubert du Petit-Thouars (Bournois, 5 November 1758 – Paris, 12 May 1831)

louis marie aubert du petit-thouarsLouis marie aubert du petit-thouarsWas an eminent French botanist.

He was from an aristocrat family of the region of Anjou, where he grew up in the castle of Boumois, near Saumur. In 1792, after an imprisonment of two years during the French Revolution, he was exiled to Madagascar and the nearby islands such as La Réunion (then called Bourbon). He started collecting many plant specimens on Madagascar, Mauritius and La Réunion.

Ten years later he was able to return to France with a collection of about 2000 plants. Most of his collection went to the Muséum de Paris, while some species ended up at Kew. Angraecum crassum, a drawing of this orchid by Thouars in his book Orch. Il. Afr.

He was elected member of the prestigious Académie des Sciences on 10 April 1820.

Du Petit Thouars is remembered as the author of the book “Histoire des végétaux recueillis dans les îles de France, de Bourbon et de Madagascar.” (usually abbreviated in botanic literature as Orch. Iles Afr), illustrated by many beautiful drawings. Other books followed : " Mélanges de botanique et de voyages " and " Histoire particulière des plantes orchidées recueillies dans les trois îles australes de France, de Bourbon et de Madagascar " ( L'île de France is the present island of Mauritius and L'île de Bourbon is the present La Réunion). He did pioneering botanical work by his descriptions of orchids from this region: 52 species from Mauritius and 55 from La Réunion.

The standard author abbreviation Thouars is used to indicate this individual as the author when citing a botanical name.

Orchid genera named by Thouars:

Angorchis Thouars 1809.(now : Angraecum Bory, 1804).

Bulbophyllum Thouars 1822, describing 17 species.

Centrosis Thouars, 1822. (now : Calanthe R.Br., 1821).)

Corymborkis Thouars 1809 (now : Corymborchis Thou. ex Blume 1855)

Cynorkis Thouars 1809

Dendrorkis Thouars, 1809 (now : Polystachya Hook., 1824)

Gastrorchis Thouars 1809

Graphorkis Thouars 1809 (now Phaius Lour)

Hederorkis Thouars 1809

Leptorkis Thouars ex Kuntze, 1891 (now : Liparis Rich.,1817).

Phyllorkis Thouars 1822 (now : Bulbophyllum Thouars, 182