Joseph Pitton de Tournefort

(1656–1708) [Tournef.]

Initially trained in divinity studies, Tournefort arranged the petaliferous plants into classes based on the form of the corolla, then into families based on the position of the corolla, and finally into genera as defined by the character of the fruit and seed. His system, as outlined in Élémens (Paris, 1694) and Institutiones Rei Herbariae (Paris, 1700), provided a standard throughout Europe until displaced by those of Linnaeus (ca.1760) and Jussieu (ca.1780).

Right: HI Archives portrait no. 3a.
Joseph Pitton de Tournefort (1656–1708) [Pictured above]. Élémens de Botanique ou Méthode pour Connoître les Plantes (Paris, 1694).

Tournefort’s Élémens de Botanique was thought to be the most comprehensive botanical work to that time, treating all plants then known in the western world and accounting for 10,146 species in 648 genera.