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Herbarium of 52 Specimens Vibrant Alpine Flora Compiled by French Botanist Henri Bordère
Gèdre, Hautes-Pyrénées, 1880-1882. Herbarium of French botanist Henri Bordère (1825-1889) containing 52 preserved botanical specimens, neatly mounted onto 15 leafs for display in a purpose made volume, each with a typescript caption label to identify the specimen by its scientific name, as well as the month and year collected. Specimens range in size, the smallest spanning approximately 3,5 x 1 cm, and the largest approximately 13 x 11,5 cm. Oblong 8vo. Red cloth boards titled in gilt to front. Bordère's printed label mounted to front endpaper, stating his credentials and location. Volume measures approximately 24,5 x 16 cm. Lovely textures and unusually vibrant colours are skillfully preserved and elegantly displayed in this attractive herbarium of alpine specimens. Evidently considered rare at the time, the first sample is an Alchemilla alpina L., luxuriously tactile and shining its brilliant soft golden hue. Other delightful examples include the lovely blue Scilla umbellata (Ramond), the Ficaria ranunculoides (now called the Ficaria verna), a small violet flower called Delphinium peregrinum (poisonous to humans and livestock this is commonly knnown as larkspur), the star-like Astrantia major flower known as great masterwort, an Ononis natrix, a Scilla lilio-hyacinthus, the herbaceous Fumaria officinalis of the poppy family, the intense blue Gentiana acaulis (stemless gentian) found in higher altitudes with its trumpet-shaped flowers, and the Anemone vernalis (synonym Pulsatilla vernalis) better known as the Arctic violet. Indeed precious for this particular herbarium is the sample of Fritillaria pyrenaica, native to the Pyrenees in Spain and France, and featuring bell-shaped pendant flowers with petals in uniquely muted earth-toned colours. Popularly known as Pyrenean fritillary and Pyrenean snake's-head, this species of bulbous flowering plant is from the family Liliaceae. Also interesting is the Gentiana verna, or Spring Gentian, one of the smallest members of its species, yet associated with a number of superstitions. Folklore touted that death would follow if the flower was ever picked. Today some consider it bad luck to bring the gentian into a house, for the individual doing so will be at risk of being struck by lightning. From the mountainous regions of Hautes-Pyrenees in Southwest France, these plants were collected specifically at Gèdre, Gavarnie, Luz, Hèas, Pic de Salettes, Pic blanc, Col de Bué, Barèges, Comeli, Rochers de Ste. Marie, St.-Sauveur and Cirque de Tremouse, some of these locations being in what is now the Pyrénées National Park. The earliest specimen gathered, a Genusta purgans found in the hills of Sainte-Marie-de-Campan in June 1880, is captioned in manuscript in Bordère's hand. The remainder he has captioned with typescript labels. Bordère, a notable and internationally connected nineteenth century botanist, not only collected, identified, and catalogued plants. He taught at the Academy of Science and was an authority on the subject of plants in the Pyrenees mountain range. Foreign botanists frequently sought his expert knowledge, and toured his personal herbarium. Occasionally his guests would return home with a rare plant, a uniquely significant specimen, or even a pristine album such as the present example. It is possible that British botanist Alban Edward Lomax accompanied Bordère when some of these specimens were collected. In July 1881, when some of the plants in the present volume were collected and dated, Lomax was making a journey of botanical observations in the region, and intentionally visited Mr. Bordère at Gèdre. Lomax described his plant collecting sojourn to France, and the visit with Bordère in a paper titled, "A Botanist's Holiday in the Pyrenees" in which he wrote, "Past the Col. d'Aubisque... to Arrens... I got a few rare ones, e.g. Potentilla alchemilloides... At the village of Gedere lives Mons. Bordère, the botanist of the Pyrenees. I paid him a visit and found him surrounded by piles of plants in various stages of drying. He and his son collect... He makes expeditions along the whole length of the chain, and across into Spain; and I can strongly recommend anyone who wishes for a good set of Pyrenean specimens to apply to him." Henri Bordère (1825-1889) was a French botanist, renowned throughout the region for his work, identifying, collecting, and cataloging of plants, collecting mainly in the Pyrenees. He lived in the mountain village of Gèdre and was a professor at the 'Académie des Sciences' there. He corresponded with John Stuart Mill and other great botanists of the day. Borderea Miégev (1866), also known as Dioscoreaceae, is a genus of flowering plants named after him. He was a member of the Botanical Society of France, the Helvetic Society, and other learned groups. He was awarded the distinction of Knight, in the Legion of Honour, the highest French order for military and civil merits, established in 1802 by Napoleon Bonaparte. Bordère's decades of field work resulted in an immense herbarium, which is now held at the National Botanical Conservatory of the Pyrenees and Midi-Pyrenees, in the town of Bagneres-de-Bigorre. Gèdre is renowned for being part of the site with Gavarnie "Pyrénées Mont-Perdu, cirques and canyons countries", World Heritage by UNESCO. Located at 1000m altitude in the Hautes-Pyrenees, rural activity still holds an important place both in everyday life and in the local economy it this traditional mountain village. Henri Bordère (1825-1889) fue un botánico francés. Fue profesor en Gèdre, Altos Pirineos, recolectando principalmente en los Pirineos. Son enorme herbario se conserva en el "Conservatorio botánico nacional de los Pirineos y de Medios Pirineos, en la ciudad de Bagnères-de-Bigorre. Il fut nommée Chevalier, Ordre national de la Légion d'honneur.
      [Bookseller: Voyager Press Rare Books & Manuscripts]
Last Found On: 2016-12-01           Check availability:      PBFA    


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