Michel Adanson

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Michel Adanson
Adanson's grave in the Pere Lachaise cemetery

Michel Adanson (born April 7, 1727 in Aix-en-Provence , † August 3, 1806 in Paris ) was a French botanist , ethnologist and naturalist . Its official botanical author abbreviation is “ Adans. "


Adanson studied at the University of Paris under René Antoine Ferchault de Réaumur and Bernard de Jussieu . In 1748 he undertook a research trip to the Canary Islands and the French colonies in Senegal , where he devoted himself to researching nature and the peoples of Senegambia until 1753 .

When he was on what he called the island of Senegal in August 1749 , he repeatedly visited the neighboring island of Sor to hunt there; but one day he forgot to hunt when he saw a tree of unusual size. It was the first baobab tree he found on his journey. It was not particularly tall, but its trunk was tremendously thick and sixty-five feet in circumference . Adanson learned that the local Wolof called this type of tree Goui . He was astonished that he had never read anything about this very eye-catching tree in a travelogue and subsequently undertook to describe it scientifically, especially since he found it to be widespread throughout the country.

Adanson published his observations in the Histoire naturelle du Sénégal (Paris 1757; German von Martini, Brandenburg 1773, and von Schreber, Leipzig 1773).

He wrote monographs of individual plant species, including the baobab tree and the oscillatoria , and in 1751 made the trembling catfish known for the first time , whose beats he compared with those of the Leiden bottle .

Adanson died in a poor situation.



The plant genus of baobab trees ( Adansonia L. ) from the mallow family (Malvaceae), subfamily wool tree (Bombacoideae) was named after him. The magazine “Adansonia” (published from 1860 to 1879 and from 1961) has also been named in his honor. In 1856, a marble statue was erected in his memory in the Jardin des plantes in Paris.


Individual evidence

  1. Michael Adanson's message from his trip to Senegal and in the interior of the country. First description of the pumpkin or baobab tree see scan page 84ff
  2. ^ A Voyage to Senegal, the Isle of Goreé, and the River Gambia. By M. Adanson. London 1759 first description of the calabash trees in English see scan page 96ff
  3. Histoire naturelle du Sénégal , p. 134.
  4. Lotte Burkhardt: Directory of eponymous plant names . Extended Edition. Botanic Garden and Botanical Museum Berlin, Free University Berlin Berlin 2018. [1]

Web links

Commons : Michel Adanson  - collection of images, videos and audio files