Alphonse de Candolle, Origine des plantes cultivées. 1882 and 1886.

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  • Candolle, Alphonse de, 1882 ('1883'). Origine des plantes cultivées. Paris, Germer Baillière, VIII-379 p.

The first edition dates from October 1882, as stated by F.A. Stafleu & R.S. Cowan, Taxonomic literature ed. 2, n.º 981]. The book itself bears the date of 1883. It was digitized by and by Real Jardín Botánico de Madrid, this last site offering the best text version:

Other editions

There was a precursor of this book. It is chapter IX titled Origine géographique des espèces cultivées, of the book Géographie botanique raisonnée, published in 2 vol. in 1855. This chapter deals with 157 species, against 247 for the 'Origine des plantes cultivées, and Candolle often refers to it.

  • Candolle, Alphonse de, 1886. Origine des plantes cultivées. éd. 3 revue et augmentée. Paris, Germer Baillière, VI-385 p. available on Gallica. It seems that the mention of 'third edition' is due to the fact that the author considered his 1855 chapter as the first edition.
  • Reprint J. Laffitte. ed. 2: 1883.
  • Reedition 1998. Paris, Diderot Multimédia. (Coll. Latitudes, 18). 488 p.
  • In Italian, 1883. L’origine delle piante coltivate. Milano, Dumolard.
  • In German, 1884. Der Ursprung der Culturpflanzen. Leipzig, Brockhaus.
  • In English, 1884. Origin of cultivated plants. London, Kegan, Paul, French. ed. 2: 1885, New-York, D. Appleton. ed. 2a: 1886, New-York, D. Appleton. Reprint Hafner in 1959, 1964 and 1967.

How to make a good use of Candolle's data

The book of Candolle is a landmark for plant history, and it remains a model in its method,and rich in data. On the basis of limited data, his intuition often led him to right conclusions. But we must insist on the fact that it is largely obsolete, and that it can in no way be used as reflecting the current state of knowledge. I tried to express that in my preface to the French reedition of 1998.

Candolle granted ancient Egypt with an excessive role, which lies within the egyptomania of his time. He had relations with Adolphe Pictet, founder of Indo-european linguistic studies. Scholars had just discovered that Sanskrit belonged to the same family than European languages. A step further led to think that Sanskrit was the mother of European languages, or at least the most ancient one, and Candolle went this way. Paradoxically, this aspect still fascinates contemporary readers, because authors rarely cite Sanskrit plant names!

The attitude of Candolle towards popular names is contradictory. He gives an important role to unmotivated names, reputedly old and borrowed from one language to another. In contrary, he often qualifies as absurd or ridiculous motivated names, which result of lexical innovations. We had to wait for the emergence of ethnobotany and have those names rationally studied.

How to use the online version

We offer here the integral text of Candolle's 1882 book, structured by article. To access it, you can consult the detailed table of contents, the index of French plant names and the index of modern scientific names.

The text is reproduced as it was published (including many spelling errors and misprints), and in a continuous way (i.e. chapter and section titles are placed on top of the following article). The original numbering of notes has been conserved. Notes are simply placed under the relevant article.

revised and put on line by Michel Chauvet